COMMENTARY: Prime minister of St Lucia on the Leahy Law: I’ve done everything I can do

By Melanius Alphonse

Sen. Patrick Leahy

In the third and final part of the Caribbean News Now exclusive interview with the prime minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet, he apparently admitted he can do no with regard to more Leahy Law sanctions on Saint Lucia.

The issues arising from Operation Restore Confidence (ORC), the Leahy Law sanctions and the subsequent IMPACS report have been dealt with in considerable detail in many columns and leading news reports from Caribbean News Now.

In brief, security force units in Saint Lucia have been denied assistance by the US under the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, joining such illustrious company as Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia and Lebanon. In the case of Saint Lucia, this has produced an added hindrance to a robust economic recovery.

However, many have questioned why Saint Lucia, and what about the countries that are well known for human rights violations and/or extrajudicial killings but on which the Leahy Law has never been imposed? In our region what about Jamaica, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago?

A number of observers have complained that the Leahy Law has not been implemented in response to what they’ve claimed are human rights abuses by the Israeli military.

In February 2016, 11 members of Congress, including Senator Leahy, sent a letter to the State Department demanding a review of the Leahy Law be conducted after reports of extrajudicial killings by Israeli and Egyptian military forces.

For instance, in 2011 Human Rights Watch reported that the US “continued to aid and train Cambodia’s armed forces including units with records of serious human rights violations – in violation of the Leahy Law”.

In the case of Saint Lucia, the current government must actively pursue a solution to the situation – something that has defeated previous administrations.

However, according to the prime minister: “So I’ve done everything I can do. In the feedback that I’m getting I think people have been very happy with the progress we’ve been making. We will be doing some lobbying on our own to meet with some senators and some congressmen.

“I feel that we are along the way. I’m not going to sit here and cry; we’ll continue to do what we have to do and hopefully the US at the right point will say, okay Saint Lucia has moved off in the right direction.”

Nevertheless, does the Saint Lucia government understand the concept and mechanics of modern politics and possess a global vision to solve this dilemma? Even so, getting there requires a number of proactive measures and not a wait and see attitude.

Notwithstanding the IMPACS report’s 25 recommendations, this still isn’t enough, unless there is a serious effort to address the underlying cause of the problem, raise credibility in relation to a measured response that demonstrates leadership in law enforcement and develop a comprehensive national security policy.

Constitutional and justice reform is conditioned upon legal efficiency, the protection of human rights and reinforcing democracy.

Looking forward to a new era, institution building and operational efficiency are paramount, combining a clear strategy, carefully crafted actions and systems that are legitimate and supported by an international policy capable of sustaining its legitimacy, supported by signature achievements.

Based on conversations with those in the know, credible efforts to resolve the issues must be supported by a series of deliberate decisions and communicated with integrity and influence to the US congress, in particular the foreign relations, judicial and the intelligence committees, to commence engagement and subsequently lift the Leahy Law sanctions.

Saint Lucia has to be sure it has an operational plan in absolute terms to lift the Leahy Law sanctions and undertake a realistic and successful path to assert itself as new and leading player in the Caribbean.

It is not enough simply to say, “I think that what Leahy was supposed to do, it has done. It has gotten the government’s attention. The government has changed its course, has remedied the situation. There’s no point in me trying to be defensive about what took place in the past. The programme that was run was well intended, there’s no two ways about it – Saint Lucia was paralysed.”

It seems to me that Saint Lucia is no less paralysed now than it was pre-ORC, this time around as a result of indefensible actions to correct the earlier problems that Chastanet now nevertheless tries to defend as “well intended”.

And while the prime minister makes a valid point in relation to the Leahy Law that “it cannot be that the penalty is making Saint Lucia any less secure”, talk must be translated into action in the shape of a comprehensive plan that forms part of the future direction of Saint Lucia.

Right now, it seems that Chastanet is borrowing from President Donald Trump (“Who knew that healthcare was so complicated?”) … Who knew that the Leahy Law sanctions were so complicated…?

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

10 comments

  1. What you can do and should certainly explore is seeking assistance from the likes of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel (mmm US state maybe not)....

    If the US and UK are not prepared to give us assistance on the basis that we're not protecting Human Rights then why not approach the same countries the US and UK sell the majority of their Arms too and turn a blind eye to these countries blatant disregard to they citizens human rights.

    When will we have a PM with some balls to really refute these allegations by turning it around.

    Saudi Arabias' human rights violations are way more than StLucias' yet still the UK govt haven't imposed sanctions on them why do you thinks that is!

    Saudi Arabia is the UK biggest client for the sale of their arms.

    Hypocrisy to highest.

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  3. Pure and simple, American hypocrisy. Unarmed Black people are shot by the American cops on a weekly basis, some on camera.

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  5. New Testament Verse of the Day:
    Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly; not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

    – 1 Peter 5: 2

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  7. I am glad that you did not leave out the most fundamental point"

    "However, many have questioned why Saint Lucia, and what about the countries that are well known for human rights violations and/or extrajudicial killings but on which the Leahy Law has never been imposed? In our region what about Jamaica, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago?

    I think your talent would be most useful and appreciated if you can investigate and present an answer to this question. It would provide the clarity and also point us to whether we should even pay attention to the actions of the US or the crafters of IMPACS.

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  9. You'll want to blame Allan Chastanet for youll mis deeds.You'll should have known Human Rights and Leahy Law would put you'll.But blame Kenny Leather face Anthony.Now you'll want Allan Chastanet to fight for Leahy La to have mercy on you'll.Youll reap what you'll sow.All the people that talking.How long Impacs been in our face.From Kenny Administration,so stop looking for Allan Chastanet to performmiracles for youll with rhis mess,go bombard Kenny Anthony who would not have been able to do shit,with Youll Leahy Law youll look for it.Mr.DPP move a little faster please,is time for this shit to get resolved.

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    • Sharon Terrell, are you a Jackass or a Flambo hack. You are so lost with regards to ORC and IMPACS.
      You must be deliberately spreading propaganda... You need to read and understand. Do spend your time educating yourself with the right information

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    • ORC was undertaken by an administration that he was a fundamental part of. So he is best placed to deal with it. Besides it was, as many other things, a campaign promise. I guess he did not know that the other promises such as reducing cost of fuel and eliminating VAT were also very complicated?!

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    • For crying out loud, there is a difference between you'll and y'all. You'll is short for "you all" and y'all is short for "You all".

      Now back to the subject at hand. You people were saying that the US imposed sanctions on St. Lucia because of our relationship with ALBA even though the Government of the day was saying it was as a result of ORC. Y'all fooled many who gullibly drank what y'all postulated. Y'all continued to say that Kenny should have interfered in the judicial system even when he said that there was a separation of the branches of Government. Y'all fooled some people with what y'all postulated.

      Today, Hurricane Allen is making the same statement that Kenny made . . . "“I’ve done everything I can do" . . . and y'all are drinking it like koolaid laced with poison. Y'all are saying absolutely nothing . . . oh, sorry, y'all are saying "give him a chance." Well, enough chances. The Hurricane Chastenet must get out of our hair! He must go!!! He is in over his head and is making a mess out of everything he touches!

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      • jackass.."you'll" is not short for "you all" but "YOU WILL"...you say there's a difference but you have the same thing for both smh.."yall" quick to correct people but more jackass than them

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