It is an incontrovertible fact that the young men on the block in Paul’s Avenue/Paul’s Lot are involved in various crimes, including drug trafficking, petty theft, larceny, and murder. Newspaper clippings spanning the past thirty years will evidence this quite easily.
It is a further incontrovertible fact that the young men and women who perpetuate these criminal acts are known to the police. Past and present Commissioners of Police have stated that they know the criminals and the gangs operating in the country.
Most recently, the Minister of National security stated that the recent uptick in homicides can be traced to the cocaine trade.
If we are to be serious about crime, we need to disrupt those who gather in open spaces to plan and plot ways to terrorise the lives of others. We cannot go into another year pretending as if the young men outside the parliament building are not peddling drugs in broad daylight. We cannot turn a blind eye from the reality that the tentacles of crime run deep into the alleys of that inner city community.
Dismantling the slum which is Paul’s Lot will not on its own serve as the panacea for crime. However, it will go a long way in sending a clear message that the authorities are willing to be tough on crime. Imagine with me a sprawling new expansion of capital city Kingstown utilising the space to drive new economic activity.
I do not believe that everyone in Paul’s lot is evil or criminal. It is also an incontrovertible fact that many notable icons and organisations came out of the bowels of the community but those of yesteryear will admit the present Paul’s lot is but a figment of our imagination.
Politicians are never willing to take the tough decisions necessary for fear of losing political support. Until both government and opposition are willing to make the lives of criminals uncomfortable then the majority will continue to wonder if this is the St. Vincent and the Grenadines — Land of the Blessed.