The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves has made his intentions to bring stricter legislations against firearms and sex crimes known. Individuals who are convicted of such crimes will face harsher sentences, so as to deter people from such crimes.
The government has also stated that not only will some sexual offenses and the possession of unlicensed firearms be taken more seriously, even the tinting of vehicle windows will now have a legislation against it.
“Because criminals or persons suspected of criminal activities have been using tinted vehicles to make detection more difficult. I know some persons are going to object, but the point is this, we have to be reasonable. And we have to think of the entire country.”
Dr Gonsalves is also the Minister of National Security and had this to add on the matter, “I know some persons like to have the tint and be inside there and nobody can see them, and so on, privacy and all the rest of it, but the not only the evidence here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines but comparative evidence across the region and from various advisors that this is an area which we need to address.”
As a result, the government has made the decision to pass a legislation regarding this very soon.
“Well, I want it to be done quite quickly. But there’s a draft on it already. I’ve given my okay as Minister of Legal Affairs, chair of the Cabinet Subcommittee on Legislation” Dr Gonsalves said.
He has also explained that the proposed increase in firearm penalties will bring the fines at the same level as the regional average.
“It’s fairly stiff at the moment. But it looks as though when you examine comparatively other areas we might be in terms of penalties a little below the median line, though it used to be abnormally low and we increased it. Remember it was one year, we increased it to seven years, but lots of places is 10 in the region, in some cases, 15.”
Gonsalves also stated that certain penalties for specific sexual offenses will be taken into consideration and altered to bring them to appropriate levels with relation to the times and the general standard in the region.
For example, the penalty for indecent assault has a maximum sentence of five years if the victim is under 15 years of age. These are the legislations that the government will now reevaluate.
Authorities will also look into strengthening prison facilities both physically and electronically.