AP – Five people were fatally shot in the capital of St. Vincent as the eastern Caribbean island struggles with a rise in violent crime, authorities said Thursday.
The victims were killed late Wednesday in Kingstown in an outdoor area near a cruise ship terminal, police said in a statement.
No one has been arrested, and it wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the shooting.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a cluster of islands of around 100,000 people, has reported 35 killings so far this year, compared with a record 42 last year.
St. Vincent Police Commissioner Colin John said in a statement that the nation is still a safe place “despite the regrettable spate of violence that we are currently experiencing.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is in Morocco on an official trip, posted a video online in reaction to Wednesday night’s shooting.
He said authorities will implement additional security measures that he declined to specify for tactical reasons as he condemned what he said was the trafficking of weapons from the U.S.
“We must not panic,” he said. “We must be resolute in fighting the criminals.”
Last month. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the U.S. was investing millions of dollars to crack down on weapons trafficking in the Caribbean.
The U.S. Justice Department also is expected to appoint a coordinator to oversee arms smuggling to the Caribbean.
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