Antigua to seek foreign help in crime fight

St. John’s — Government has pledged to seek outside assistance to boost the police’s crime fighting capabilities in the wake of Tuesday’s senseless killing of a mother and about a dozen shootings and a string of armed robberies in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer made the announcement in a national address last night.

“During this week, I will contact our international partners and discuss the recent developments and request their assistance in providing technical and administrative resources to augment the capabilities of our police force,” Spencer said.

However, the nation’s leader did not disclose which partners government intends to approach.

Government is known to have reached out to Scotland Yard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the past whenever gun crime spiralled to alarming levels.

Fast-track CCTV programme

Spencer further noted that the government would fast-track the national closed circuit television surveillance programme announced in the 2013 budget.

Spencer said: “I wish to remind the public that a few months ago, government decided to waive the duty on the importation of CCTV security camera surveillance systems and burglar alarms for residential purposes for the next 12 months.”

Spencer, who told the nation he is distressed by recent developments, also said the government would be relentless in its fight against crime.

He described the incidents, particularly Susan Powell’s killing, as shocking, callous, tragic, regrettable and outrageous.

Powell was shot in the back of the head around 1:15 p.m. Tuesday while working at First Gadget store located in the usually busy Heritage Quay tourist area.

In early February, cricket entertainer Laban Gravy Benjamin was shot in the chest by robbers who ambushed him outside his home. Last week Willikies resident Evinston Joseph was attacked by robbers who shot him in the head, and, over the weekend restaurateur Glen Hector and taxi driver Jawanda Michael were also shot by robbers. (Antigua Observer)

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