CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Given the recent spike in criminal activities on the island, the Lucian People's movement (LPM) has signalled its intention to press the government and the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) to support tougher legislation that would regulate the sale and purchase of gold and precious jewellery.
Therold Prudent, the leader of the LPM, said, "Many Saint Lucians have become victims of home burglaries due to this illicit activity, and there is a tremendous level of vulnerability that hovers over the personal safety and property of all law abiding citizens and visitors alike. Something must be done now."
Prudent said that the LPM has written to Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and the leader of the opposition, Stephenson King, outlining its recommendations with a view to addressing this menacing situation once and for all. The LPM has also furnished copies of its recommendations to the leader of the UWP, Allen Chastanet, and Saint Lucia's media houses.
"While we are waiting for the formation of the National Consultation on Crime, which is tasked with formulating a comprehensive plan to combat violent crime throughout the island, there are some things that can be done in other areas to offer a measure of hope to a nation battered by all sorts of criminal activities," Prudent said.
“I am hopeful that Hon. Kenny Anthony and his government will take some time to review the party's suggestions and not dismiss the proposals because they have not originated from within the walls of his government. The people of Saint Lucia deserve the right to feel safe in their homes and not to be worried about the safety of their personal possessions. They should not be made to suffer any longer by those who habitually place narrow partisan interests over what is best for our country," Prudent added.
Last week, the LPM made the following recommendations to the government to address the illegal sale and purchase of gold and other precious jewellery:
a) Create a paid, trained auxiliary police force that is empowered to patrol the streets of local communities and authorised to make immediate arrests for crimes observed.
b) Require cash-for-gold dealers and pawn shops to demand personal ID from persons attempting to sell gold and other precious jewellery.
c) Mandate a waiting period of ten business days before a sale of gold and precious jewellery is finalised and payments are disbursed to a seller. Make it mandatory for the proposed purchaser to photograph the jewellery and to immediately turn over all documentation on the proposed sale to the police for thorough scrutiny and verification.
d) Make it an offence for anyone to purchase gold and other precious jewellery on the street without prior knowledge of the identity of the person making the sale. Even in cases where the identity of the seller is known during a street purchase, make it mandatory for the purchaser to report the sale to the police.
f) Anyone caught with stolen jewellery in their possession should be prosecuted and subject to a lengthy prison sentence.