Posted on

We have to weed out the bad eggs – PM Gonsalves


The bad eggs need to be weeded out of the justice system.

So said Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves, as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony for the inaugural Criminal Justice Stakeholders ALRIGHT conference, which opened with a cocktail reception hosted by the Prime Minister and his wife, Eloise, at the Prime Minister’s official residence on Tuesday.

“Persons who are involved themselves in fighting against criminals, sometimes we know that some of them cross the line and become engaged themselves with the criminals…and we have to make sure that we weed out the bad eggs and thankfully we do not have many in our police forces and coastguard.

“Most of the guns in our region come from the United States of America. We don’t make guns and bullets in the Caribbean and we appreciate and understand in the US that you have the right to bear arms…but that makes life difficult for us in the region.

“We have to identify ways and means to see how we can interdict these guns and bullets,” the Prime Minister

Gonsalves said that these arms do not just flow out of the United States directly to us, but come through other parts of our dangerous neighbourhood such as Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.

ALRIGHT originally meant “Alternative Lawful Responses to Intercepting Gangsters, Hustlers and Transgressors”, but Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams said some people had issues with the word alternative and so they have replaced it with Applying.

“The change in ALRIGHT to applying…also led to a change in response and that has been central to bringing us to where we are today.”

Grenville Williams, director of the Regional Security System Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU) said the inaugural ALRIGHT conference was set up to “identify what works well, determining what existing tools and resources are underutilized in the system and to give adequate and meaningful consideration to reform where necessary by implementing innovative, practical, yet cost-effective and sustainable solutions to enhance the effectiveness of the system.”

The RSS ARU director told the audience that it is often said that crime, including drug trafficking and money laundering are the third largest industry in the world.

“The seven RSS jurisdictions are not immune or insulated, but are impacted by violent ravages of crime, whether by murder (which is often carried out by means of illegal finance and firearms), the greed and economic power associated with drug trafficking, terrorism, cyber crime and other organized criminality.

“One key mechanism which can become a core part of the fight against criminality is the ability of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to efficiently deprive criminals of any financial benefits gained from their illicit activities,” the RSS ARU director said.

The inaugural Criminal Justice Stakeholders ALRIGHT Conference was hosted by the Office of the DPP/National Prosecution Service of SVG, with the support of the Government in partnership with the RSS ARU in Barbados.

The conference saw several leaders and top managers in various local and regional stakeholder agencies in attendance.

The scope of the Conference stretched beyond prosecutorial issues as it engenders wider community concerns of law enforcement, the rule of law and national security.

The facilitators and resource persons at the conference shared their expertise on a range of topics, including Rule of Law, the Administration of Justice, Witness Protection, Border protection, Anonymous Witnesses and Special Measures, Digital Evidence, Inter-agency Cooperation, Legislative Reform, Covert Intelligence, Civil Recovery, Asset Forfeiture and Confiscation.

The keynote address on day two of the conference was delivered by Vincentian Justice Adrian Saunders, of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by DPP Colin Williams.