…The 4-Roads and Carenage and surrounding areas, put down your firearms, put boots on the ground and let’s come and help work to build your villages and communities.
This was the message directed at two of Grenada’s most volatile gun-infested areas by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell as he addressed an upsurge in the indiscriminate firing of illegal firearms on the island during a government-sponsored Town Hall meeting Wednesday night at the Westerhall Secondary school.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell called on those engaged in gun violence in the country to bring an end to their illegal activities.
The Grenadian leader who is also the Minister of National Security said the Security Forces will adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to persons having illegal firearms in their possessions on the island.
“…I want to urge our young men in particular who might otherwise be misled into thinking that there is some future in badmanism, criminality or gangsterism – there is no future in any of these careers,” he said.
“…We are already working with the Royal Grenada Police Force to have a dedicated Task Force that will be set up and implemented to address the issue of illegal firearms throughout the length and breath of Grenada,” he added.
Underworld sources have pointed to tension between elements from 4-Roads and the Carenage linked up together against a small group of men associated with an area in the south of the island known as Saigon that is within the vicinity of the Sugar Mill round-a-bout.
These sources point in the direction of “bad blood” involving a major figure in the Carenage/H.A Blaize Street and a deportee from the United States who was affiliated with a disbanded group known as “The Bloods” and has apparently put together a small group of men in the south to engage in the warfare.
One person who operates in 4-Roads has been charged by Police in recent weeks with the shooting of another who is said to be a regular at Saigon.
Residents in 4-Roads and the Carenage have been complaining of heavy gunfire from what appears to be automatic weapons especially in the night.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell announced at the Town Hall meeting that Grenada is currently “working to beef up security at our borders” because some people “are sending in firearms in barrels, boxes, containers.”
“…We are vulnerable at the borders,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that at the national, OECS and the wider Caricom level, the leaders are engaging the U.S government in particular with helping to stem the flow of guns into the Caribbean.
“…The guns come out of North America and they need to do more to stem the illegal trafficking of firearms or legal in some cases – out of the ports and borders of North America which end up in the Caribbean.”
“We don’t manufacture guns, we don’t make guns but they find their way into our societies because they come out of North America.”
PM Dickon Mitchell announced that his 9-month old administration is planning to bring about tougher penalties for those caught with illegal firearms.
“We also intend to amend and beef up our legislation to reflect our zero tolerance initiative for firearms to make sure that people understand that if you get caught with unlawful or illegal firearms there will be serious consequences.”
“It is very easy in a small society like Grenada for us to go down the rabbit hole very quickly”.
The Prime Minister referred to the recent executions of nine persons within two days in St Lucia this past week and the hundreds of persons killed through gun violence each year in Jamaica and neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago.
He said that Grenada “cannot take it (the level of gun violence) for granted and we cannot take our security for granted.”