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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

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With a ‘Not Guilty‘ verdict handed down by a Jury in last weeks murder case were 21 year old Issa Alleyne, son of prominent Attorney-at-Law Peter Alleyne was acquitted on murder charges with respect to the death of Wayne Dalrymple. The incident occurred on Carnival Tuesday 2006 when a man was reportedly seen stabling the deceased.

According to one Reporter for the Chronicle Newspaper, Mr. Carlisle Jno Baptiste who after following the Wayne Dalrymple murder case proceeding for the last four days found that the prosecution case was weak, and they were unable to show substantial evidence to prove that it was Mr.Alleyne who committed the crime. He went to say, that if there is any doubt in the minds of the member jury – the end result would be to rule in favor of the accused. And therefore he sees the verdict handed down to be just.

The courts decision to set Mr. Alleyne free was not taken easily by many Dominicans, including the mother of the deceased, Norma Dalrymple. She expressed great disappointment in the police and justice systems here in Dominica, and I can honestly say that anyone understand why she feels that way. Also one can argue that the decision to acquit Alleyne of all charges rested on the position that his father holds.
It really saddens me that with two eye witnesses and camera view the prosecutors couldn’t get a guilty verdict in this murder case. I would really like someone to explain this to me, until then it is my belief that the Justice System has failed the people yet again. Which mother is next to see another murderer go free?

My question to the Police Public Relations Officer Mr. Claude Weeks – What happens now, do we file this case like all the other unsolved murder cases? My God people… someone lost their life.

This is so disturbing because there is a tendency to believe that persons can commit murder and get away with it. This murder case has made a mockery of the Justice systems here in Dominica. What next should persons do? I’m afraid if the murders continue and the police are unable to apprehend the criminals, people will be forced to take matters into their own hands. Given all the number of illegal guns circulating around, it is not far-fetched to think that people will their justice themselves. Something’s gotta give.

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Editor’s note:This is a guest post from Danielle Edwards – a Literature and History student and an aspiring Journalist.

Weeks after our Caricom leaders’ agreement to market regional destinations as part of a complete ‘One Caribbean’ regional experience instead of individual island territories, we’re faced with the growing challenges of sharing each other’s problems…

In the heat of this summer’s Carnival festivities, the brutal murder of a British couple honeymooning in Antigua has sparked outrage among locals, government officials and foreigners alike.

Only a fortnight after blissfully cutting their wedding cake together, the Mullanys were attacked and shot before sunrise at their secluded luxury cottage in the Cocos Hotel last week. A £66,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of their murderers, and authorities in Antigua & Barbuda are now scrambling to implement ‘extraordinary measures’ and ‘beef up security’ to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Unfortunately, it seems like officials may be trying to play this off as an isolated incident as they are extremely frantic about the country’s tourism image. The Tourism Minister Mr. Harold Lovell has said that ‘This isolated incident has deeply shocked our community and we wish to reassure visitors that Antigua and Barbuda is a safe destination’. This move has not gone unnoticed by the international media. According to a BBC news report, ‘people who live there say…that crime is increasing’.

There have been a whopping 10 murders so far in Antigua for the year in addition to numerous incidents of armed robbery and sexual assault- a big number for a little island. Most of these crimes remain unsolved, but some persons have, unbelievably, found comfort in the fact that the majority of homicides have been committed against locals and not foreigners. However there is no doubt that the crime rate is far too high. In 2006 alone there were 19 killings.

Many Antiguans are upfront about the problem, citing gang war as the underlying menace. There are allegedly more than 10 territorial gangs on the island! In fact, days before the Mullanys were murdered police discovered 100 rounds of .38 ammunition and a gunman’s mask in a local residence.
But while some of us may be inclined to brush this incident off as an Antiguan problem, in reality it has implications for the wider Caribbean. It comes just weeks after our Caricom leaders decided to market the region jointly as part of a ‘One Caribbean’ marketing campaign.

Since, according to Mr. Ralph Gonsalves, ‘We don’t have the resources to be aggressive individually’, our Caribbean nations will no longer be promoted as single islands, but jointly as a regional destination. There will no longer be different places and faces- we will all share one face for the prospective tourist.

While this agreement certainly has potential economic benefits, one of its foreseeable implications is likely to be that the negative impact of crimes such as the Mullanys’ murder on the Antiguan tourism industry would also be shared by other islands such as Dominica and St. Lucia. In other words, one island’s crime would inescapably affect the image of all the islands.

Already, territories like Jamaica, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world, and Trinidad & Tobago are grappling with the suppression of crime at home.

So the question arises- have our leaders prepared themselves adequately for this new tourism strategy? It’s worth wondering whether or not they are all currently aware of the circumstances surrounding this particular crime, which has already prompted several flight cancellations to Antigua, and the fact that its criminal investigations are being impeded by a ‘code of silence’.

We the people know how wonderful life is in the Caribbean, but many tourists can be easily discouraged from visiting the region by atrocious crimes, many of which are never easily solved. And now, our leaders are faced with the challenge of fighting crime all over the Caribbean and not only in their home territories- whether they wish to accept this reality or not.

And they may not be quite ready to deal with this challenge.

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