ST. JOHN’S, Antigua,CMC – The Antigua and Barbuda government is offering an EC$100,000 (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the brazen daylight murder of a mother on Tuesday.
National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort in expressing “deepest condolences” to the family of Susan Powell said that “no stone will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrator to justice in this matter.
“I am outraged; outraged and saddened at the horrific tragedy that saw the life of a young mother being indiscriminately taken,” he said in a statement.
Cort said that the government would soon be utilising all “necessary legal processes needed to give effect to the death penalty” reminding citizens that it remains a part of the law of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Also, I will be shortly taking to Parliament a Criminal Justice Bill, that will seek to not only increase the penalties for gun related and other serious crimes, but will also seek to create a number of new offences and stiffer penalties in an effort to further control criminal activities taking place in the country.”
Police said that 38-year-old Powell, a mother of five, was gunned downed at her work place in the capital.
Cort said that over the few months there has been an escalation in gun related crimes in the country and because of this trend a special Task Force on Serious Crime was established on January 5t this year.
He said while the Task Force has had some success, “regrettably much more needs to be done to bring this escalating violence under control” and that the Ministry of National Security in conjunction with “our law enforcement agencies are currently reviewing all available options in an effort to curtail any further gun related violence.
“I want to reassure the public that these brazen, heartless criminals will be brought to justice. However, the security forces cannot do it on their own, you the members of the public need to provide further support to our officers by sharing critical crime related information with them. “
Cort said that the government is offering EC$50,000 as a reward for “anyone who can provide credible information to the police that leads to the arrest and successful conviction of the person or persons who committed this heinous act” and a further EC$50,000 “to anyone who can provide credible information to the police that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone who would have committed a crime involving the use of a firearm”.
Cort said that the public outcry from the murders have not gone unnoticed by the government, reiterating the “that all available public resources will be utilized in an effort to curb this escalating criminal behaviour forthwith.
The National Security Minister is also urging the private sector, to partner with the government “as we collectively seek to address these current challenges”.
He said he had called on law enforcement authorities to immediately recall all member of their respective administration who are currently on vacation, adding “there will be an immediate increase in day and night patrols, stop and search exercises as well as other surveillance techniques, in an effort to apprehend those who insist on committing violent acts and seek to hold our nation under siege”.