The current bewilderment on the island of Saint Lucia in terms of the way to manage crime, law and order is a total shame and disgrace. Currently, the island’s crime wave stands at 30 homicides, continuing an ugly track from years gone by.
However, no substantive law enforcement measure is forthcoming from either the SLP government or the UWP opposition in and out of parliament. The most balanced approach seems to be coming from the minority political party of the LPM, based on their proclamations to date.
If one takes a closer look at the scenario in Saint Lucia, it is becoming more acute, reading and listening to local officials wobble in semantics on what approach to take.
Some citizens and opposition parliamentarians are calling for the reintroduction of “restore confidence”, or some form of operation to curb crime, while others call for tougher law enforcement and true law enforcement that lives up to the ideals “to serve and protect.”
But while calling for the reintroduction of “restore confidence”, some may have forgotten the scenario that led up to the dilemma in 2011 that involved police killings and may have contravened aspects of the “Leahy Law” and thereby prohibited Saint Lucia from accessing security-related assistance from the US.
Whether persons admit it or not, the withdrawal of security related assistance to Saint Lucia and the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is having adverse effects on multiple fronts. Yet the hardnosed SLP government of Saint Lucia is unable to come to their senses and do the right thing, first, for the benefit of the people, and secondly to restore the good name of the country locally and internationally. They are unable to understand that repairing relations with the United States is of primary importance.
The reality of the situation is such that a more just and human approach is needed in the restoration of the justice system — not confidence in brute force. A compulsive approach will breed more resentment to law enforcement that could lead to international condemnation and further marginalisation of Saint Lucia.
The situation is even more problematic with a minister for national security that is clueless to propose a bill in parliament or the senate (where he is the leader of government business), or even to use his professional ability as a former attorney general and a practicing lawyer, to articulate a position on law and order in Saint Lucia.
Which is of no surprise, since the ruling government of the St Lucia Labour Party, is even more wrong footed, headed by a constructional lawyer who is unable to craft a policy agenda of law and order, which operates “to serve and protect” the people of Saint Lucia.
International observers have come to believe that there may exist a police force that lacks confidence in itself, stemming from multiple “allegations”, resource capability and strong supportive leadership that is not free to “act in the execution of national security matters without having to look over their shoulders”.
Likewise, the constant preoccupation of the police high command, who are frequently in the news having to give interviews in defence of the RSLFP, and to clarify administrative functions. This leaves the impression that maybe there is turbulence. These situations lives local and international professionals flabbergasted.
More time should be spent doing operational and execution of law and order, hardcore investigative work, surveillance and intelligence gathering and the effective prosecution of the backlog of cases on hand.
More priority should be give to the hundreds of unsolved crime and murders on the island. This would go a long way to restoring confidence in the Royal St Lucia Police Force.
Observes sadly lament that it is hard to find solace in a justice system when hundreds of cases continue to clog the high court, causing an overcrowded prison that breeds negative results, hopelessness and fear, and undue pressure on the execution of law and order in Saint Lucia.
It is in the best interest of Saint Lucia that the esteemed Law Society step forward and help clean up the justice system — hold government accountable for an unjust system; and in harmony with the people of Saint Lucia, hold the Royal St Lucia Police Force accountable to uphold law and order that serve and protect this great island of Saint Lucia.