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Crime situation will be reduced with change of government – Dr Friday

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If Vincentians want to see a reduction in the crime situation here, there must be a change of government.

This is the conviction of Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday, which he expressed yesterday, during an interview with Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph on the OMG morning radio on Boom FM.

Friday, who is also the president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), blamed “bad policies” of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) for the crime situation. He said there are many people in this country who feel that anything goes and if one is politically connected, they can get away with anything. He said there is a lot of lawlessness in St Vincent and the Grenadines, which is what the ULP promised.

“…That is one promise that they have kept, because right now the situation is out of control. They have lost control of the country.”

After the 1998 general elections, in which the NDP lost the popular vote, but formed Government by winning 8 seats to 7, a leading member of the ULP had said that the party would make the country ungovernable, if fresh elections were not called.

Friday said for effective crime fighting, the police must function professionally and politics must be kept outside of the police force.

“Where there’s a crime, you investigate, you follow the evidence and you prosecute. That’s what you have to do….”

His comments were made following a weekend in which nine people were shot, one fatally.

Friday said efforts must be made to get the economy of SVG going again, as people are on edge because they are having difficulty in making ends meet.

He said he is willing to work with the Government on a joint approach to the problem, but he believes the Government would reject any such offer.

“I am willing to work with Government, but I don’t think they will be willing, because we have made these offers in the past. I am convinced that the only thing that can change this country is to change the Government, because there’s a lot of hope and expectations that things would get better in the country. That’s why people are grabbing what they can get for themselves. They’re not looking for community; they are looking for themselves. That’s what happens in a situation of scarcity; jobs are scarce.”

Giving advice to the Government, Friday said they should first accept there is a problem and stop hiding their heads in the sand.

“…Let us all put our backs to the wheel to find a solution to the problem. What might have worked five years ago might not work today. Which is why in everything you need to have a scientific and a systematic approach to things.”

The NDP president also opined that comparing SVG to other countries is not a good way to respond to crime.

“…You talk about the situation in other countries in the world. Yes, there are worse than us; but why should we take comfort that we are not the worst? That is not a good standard for us to use in our own lives. We must always try to do the best for the people of this country.”(CB)

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