HomeNewsBriefSt Lucia Latest Caribbean Paradise to Turn Gang Battleground
BRIEF

St Lucia Latest Caribbean Paradise to Turn Gang Battleground

CARIBBEAN / 21 JUL 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Police on the island of St Lucia have blamed gangs for a recent wave of murders and shootings, as the Caribbean region continues to suffer from violent and powerful streets gangs and rising drug trafficking.

St Lucia Police Commissioner Vernon Francois told media police intelligence indicates gang activity is behind five murders and a string of shootings that have taken place in the last two weeks, reported Caribbean 360.

Six people have so far been arrested in connection with two of the murders.

According to Francois, police have changed strategies in response to the threat, focusing on targeted intelligence instead of patrolling.

InSight Crime Analysis

The security threat posed by gangs in St Lucia is not a new phenomenon. Since at least as far back as the 1980s, criminal gangs have violently competed for control of territory and the revenues from crimes such as drug sales.

However, concern over violence linked to the gangs has been growing, and earlier this year the country passed controversial new hardline anti-gang legislation, which critics have said could indiscriminately criminalize the island's youth.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

St Lucia is not alone among Caribbean nations struggling against gang related violence. On islands such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, gangs have garnered enormous power, combining a ready use of violence with protection from political and security forces contacts. They are major drivers of the high murder rates seen in much of the region as they compete over criminal revenues, especially drug sales. Mainland Caribbean nations also suffer, with Belize recently seeing a wave of gang linked killings and warnings a new gang war could be imminent.

While in many parts of the Caribbean there is a long history of gang influence, the security threat they pose could increase due to changes in regional drug trafficking. There have been numerous indicators in recent years that the flow of drugs passing through the Caribbean is increasing substantially, with many islands acting as transshipment points for South American cocaine on route to the United States and Europe.

While these routes are controlled by international traffickers, local gangs often provide services such as security and transport, for which they are well paid in cash, arms, or likely most commonly, drugs. This increases the gangs' wealth and power, and, when they are paid in product, can contribute to the development of a local drug market -- competition over which is a major generator of gang violence.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 18 FEB 2022

Dominican authorities recently intercepted a cocaine-laden speedboat destined for Puerto Rico – the latest in a series of maritime seizures…

CARIBBEAN / 3 AUG 2021

Nearly a month after the midnight assassination of former Haiti President Jovenel Moïse, many of the details about the murder…

CARIBBEAN / 3 JUN 2022

Gangs in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince are rounding up homeless and at-risk teens, who are increasingly being used as…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…