HomeNewsSt. Lucia's Soaring Murder Rate Equals Other Caribbean Nations
NEWS

St. Lucia's Soaring Murder Rate Equals Other Caribbean Nations

CARIBBEAN / 7 JUN 2022 BY DOUWE DEN HELD EN

Several brutal killings have shaken the small Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, as murders in the country reach record levels.  

The country recorded 25 killings during the first five months of this year and a record 74 homicides in 2021. Assistant Police Commissioner George Nicholas spoke recently about the rise in murders, saying that “we have too many homicides being recorded for our little population,” according to Caribbean outlet Loop News.

In the final days of May, two young men were killed on successive days in the town of Vieux Fort, according to former prime minister and current Member of Parliament for Vieux-Fort South, Kenny D. Anthony, who called for an urgent meeting with police.

SEE ALSO: InSight Crime's 2021 Homicide Round-Up

Residents of Vieux Fort, a town at the island’s southern tip, collected 20,000 St. Lucia dollars ($7,400) as a reward for information on the shooting death of 21-year-old Jesus Blanchard. A video of Blanchard’s killing showed him sitting by the side of the road with another man on the night of May 28, when a gunman walked up to them and shot Blanchard several times.

Other slayings in May have frightened citizens. On May 23, Catharine Charles, 56, was found dead inside her home in Laborie, a village on the country’s southern coast. About a week before, the body of 54-year-old Mary Gimie was discovered outside her home in the western town of Soufriére.

InSight Crime Analysis

The record 74 murders recorded last year in St. Lucia means the country had a homicide rate of 40 per 100,000 people. This places it among fellow Caribbean nations Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica in the top five countries with the highest homicide rates in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021.

Gang violence has been blamed for much of the recent bloodshed in St. Lucia, which has a history of street gangs. In November 2021, Anthony wrote in a Facebook post that the town of Vieux Fort had “virtually become a war zone.” 

SEE ALSO: Jamaica Hatches New Plan to Seize Illegal Guns as Murders Soar

St. Lucia serves as a transit hub for South American cocaine moved to the US and Europe. Traffickers draw on local gangs to receive and protect drug shipments. Competition for this slice of the drug trade and street drug sales often drives violence.

US firearms are also smuggled into the country. For example, a Pennsylvania man was sentenced in March 2022 to about four years in prison for trafficking nearly 40 weapons to a buyer in St. Lucia. The guns – concealed in packages of detergent, cat litter and other home goods – included semiautomatic pistols, rifles and high-capacity ammunition, according to a US Justice Department news release.

In March, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre announced that he planned to seek “draconian penalties” for the illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. The majority of the killings in St. Lucia are committed with firearms.

Murders often go unsolved. Only one in five killings were cleared in 2020, according to the Central Statistical Office of St. Lucia. The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has been criticized for its low murder clearance rate, and public complaints have been made about the absence or reduction of on-duty officers.

St. Lucia is not alone in the region in its struggles with rising violence. In the Caribbean, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have seen gun violence and homicides increase in the past years.

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.

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 JUL 2022

Haiti’s Customs Agency has seized an extremely large quantity of illegally imported ammunition.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 21 SEP 2022

Trinidad and Tobago's homicide rate has past 400 for the year and authorities appear unable to stop it.

BARRIO 18 / 28 MAR 2022

A killing spree unlike anything seen since El Salvador’s civil war has delivered a macabre message from the country’s street…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…