THURSDAY, DEC. 22: Tension between gangs will be met with “strong enforcement” and the full weight of the justice system.

This is according to National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief who spoke out after a 38-year-old man was shot in Southampton last night.

Police received a report of the shooting at 7:05pm.

The details of the man’s injuries are unknown at this time but they are not thought to be life threatening.

In a press statement, Mr Perinchief said:  “The behaviour of these few individuals is not in keeping with the spirit of this season and our traditions as a people.

“At a time when we should be embracing and helping our fellow man, the community is confronted with acts of selfishness and wanton violence.

“This will not be tolerated.”

The Minister said he will be discussing additional sentencing tariffs in the new year.

“Essentially, I propose to add a period of imprisonment to the sentences of those offenders whose crimes have been committed as part of gang activity, that is the proposal in a broad sense and it will be refined before becoming a draft bill.”

The proposal would use unlawful gang activity as the means to ensure that offenders were sentenced based on the crimes committed in furtherance of this destructive lifestyle.

Mr Perinchief continued: “My information is that many of the young men involved in these gangs want to get out.

“Those that are involved seem to have no real reason for the rifts between them.

“Relatives are divided by place of residence and in such a small country this is untenable.”

He also said gang mediators have been identified.

“The first step is to devise a clear path to positive lifestyle choices for those caught up in this destructive cycle.

“We want our young men engaged, working and contributing to this community; but the choice must be theirs.

“Successful mediation efforts are best led through private sector activity and not necessarily through Government sponsored programmes, but this Government cannot wait for that leadership to start this important work.

“Concurrently we will pursue a non-Government entity to support the gang mediation activity but in the meantime we are committed to action.”