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St. Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (left) and Tysha Raphael who was one of two persons shot dead in Bois Den, Jacmel.

“Saint Lucia is prospering” – PM appeals to young people in gangs

Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has called on the young people in his “prospering” country, particularly those involved in gangs, to make use of the “new opportunities” being created by his government.

Chastanet made the comments in a video statement posted on his official Facebook page on Tuesday evening, May 25, 2021.

He was responding to the double murder over the weekend which involved the death of an “innocent” person, Tysha Raphael.

According to police, Raphael, 23, and Jason Polius, 25, both of Bois Den, Jacmel were shot dead in a drive-by shooting in their community on Sunday, May 23, around 9 p.m.

Reports are that Raphael was killed in the crossfire while out looking to get food.

Hours later, the country recorded a second double murder: two males — Daniel Prospere, 19, also known as ‘ Cesario’, and Thomas Florent, 28, also known as ‘Pole’ — were gunned down on Church Street in Dennery. This occurred on Monday, May 24, after 9 p.m.

Reports indicate that the two men were sitting on a step outside a house when they were shot multiple times. They died on the spot.

“I really want to send out my sympathies to Tysha Raphael, [the] young lady who was shot over the weekend in Jacmel,” Chastanet said.

He called the incident “a very sad situation in our country” and made an appeal to young people who are involved in gangs “that Saint Lucia is prospering and there is a better way and a better living”.

He continued: “And to how the young person who was innocently shot is something that is horrific and really unacceptable and I am really appealing to them to look for a better way to make a contribution to our country.”

Chastanet called the situation “difficult” but commended the police for making several arrests in different incidents.

“I really have to commend them, they’ve made several arrests and recently many finds with guns and ammunition. And the new K-9 dogs that we have are working fantastic. So, we are continuing to strengthen our police so they can do a better job in protecting all of us,” he explained.

Police said in a press release that four males have been arrested after two firearms, a quantity of ammunition, and illegal drugs were recovered during a joint operation at various locations in Dennery on Monday, May 24, 2021.

According to the release, during the joint police operation, police officers from a joint task force carried out 15 search warrants for the property.

Police said three males were arrested after a search conducted at a residence in Dennery revealed:

– One Draco 7.62×28 automatic rifle with two magazines and twenty-five 7.62 rounds of ammunition
– One Glock 19 with a magazine and thirty-two 9mm rounds of ammunition
– One magazine and fifteen 9mm rounds of ammunition.

Police said about 4.5 kilogrammes of suspected cannabis was recovered at a second location, resulting in the arrest of one male.

“Charges are expected to be preferred against persons in custody shortly,” the release stated.

While this is all good news, Chastanet is adamant that young people are the solution to solving the mayhem but choosing a better way of life.

“But really, for the young people, there is a better way to move forward, and we certainly are appealing to you to embrace the new opportunities that are being created in the country and to stop the unnecessary killing of a young innocent person in the name of Tysha Raphael,” Chastanet said while sending his “heartfelt sympathies” Raphael’s family.

The prime minister concluded his video statement by promising to give an update “soon”, thanked the public, and encouraged everyone to “stay strong”.