THE EDITOR, Sir:
I refer to your front-page headline of September 17, 2013, titled 'Shoot first!' ... In clashes with criminals, Sav-la-Mar mayor tells cops'.
For such a statement to be attributed to Mayor Bertel Moore, the chairman of the Westmoreland Parish Council, assuming the mayor was accurately quoted, is most unfortunate, if not highly irresponsible and offensive.
Like the mayor, I and most other well-thinking residents of Westmoreland have become increasingly concerned about the kind of Wild West our great parish has seemingly become.
Like the mayor, I and most other well-thinking residents of Westmoreland are eager to see measures implemented to bring an end to the senseless killings occurring in our parish.
Unlike the mayor, however, I and most other well-thinking residents of Westmoreland would not countenance such backward and reckless conduct on the part of the security forces in an effort to stem the bloodletting in Westmoreland.
Encouragingly, as the article pointed out, Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke, who has responsibilities for Area One, which includes Westmoreland, was quick to dismiss the mayor's suggestion, reminding that the police are supposed to fire only when their or someone else's life is threatened by criminal elements. Otherwise, the police should seek to apprehend and assist with prosecution.
The mayor's frustration with the seemingly low rate of arrests, let alone prosecution, of alleged criminals in Westmoreland should in no way deprive him of the acceptance of the fact that alleged criminals, too, have rights and that, our challenges notwithstanding, we do have a system and procedures in place to deal with such issues.
IMPROVE THE SYSTEM
A more responsible approach would be for the mayor to encourage the minister of national security, Peter Bunting, to put the necessary policies in place and provide the police with the necessary resources, and for the police to adopt more workable measures, based on their intelligence as to the cause(s) of the upsurge of violent crimes, to better address crime.
A more responsible approach would be for the mayor to encourage the Government, through the three members of parliament for the parish, to invest more in our people so as to better improve their education and general socio-economic conditions, as the more socially and economically advanced a society, the less likely it is to be overrun by violent crimes.
A more responsible approach would be for the mayor to, with the assistance of the other 13 councillors in Westmoreland, encourage residents to work more closely with the police to help bring the heartless criminals to justice.
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER