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

CARIBBEAN / 11 MAR 2014

Until recently, abductions in Haiti were rampant and almost always happened the same way: ski-mask-clad kidnappers would surround a house,…

COLOMBIA / 12 JAN 2015

Latin America is considered the world's most violent region, and 2014 did little to change that. While…

CARIBBEAN / 1 SEP 2011

Drug lord "Dudus" Coke has pleaded guilty to racketeering, closing a dark chapter in Jamaica's history. But the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…