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St. Vincent and the Grenadines bets on zero tolerance against arms

Kingstown, Mar 29 (Prensa Latina) St. Vincent and the Grenadines is currently preparing stricter measures and will proceed with a policy of zero tolerance to the use and possession of illegal arms when the amnesty to remove those weapons from the streets ends.

According to the Prime Minister and head of National Security Ralph Gonsalves, the Government will apply the full weight of the law in cases and crimes committed with weapons.

On April 4, his administration will submit to Parliament the concrete proposals for tougher penalties, which will be contained in a new law.

Gonsalves spurred mothers and wives to persuade the members of each household to hand over the ammunition or lethal items in their possession, after announcing that the prison sentence for illegal possession would ramp up from 18 months to four years of imprisonment.

The PM also urged young men to seek a better future, distance themselves from violence, and become good individuals who contribute to domestic development, instead of resorting to armed crime.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines will maintain an amnesty from May 1 to May 31, offering the population the opportunity to surrender unlicensed weapons to the police, religious centers, lawyers, politicians, or teachers, without the risk of sanctions.

While the initiative lasts, the authorities will not open inquiries nor will they add the illicit possession of munitions to the legal records of the people who voluntarily bring them to the designated sectors.

In that way, the country intends to neutralize the worrying upsurge in crimes and deaths with weapons in its streets.

The nation follows the footsteps of other Caribbean countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, which are also tightening their legislation, and declaring war on a scourge that daily brings mourning to dozens of families and surges insecurity in the area.