In this three-part series Saint Lucia needs a renaissance, I endeavour to take a look at intelligence and the modern triangle; the art of the bluff and polarization in Saint Lucia and conclude with Saint Lucia’s foreign policy dilemma.
This is of utmost necessity following the Caribbean News Now exclusive interview with the prime minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet. This paved the way to proposition more advanced capabilities and core socio-economic alternatives on a multidimensional basis in three successive articles (see related previous writings).
Hence, this should create an opportunity for a clear suite of policies, extensively lacking, to reap the benefits and provide huge advantages for Saint Lucians and Saint Lucia.
Therefore, nothing herein and prior should be deemed as trying to promote myself as perceived by conspirators of a passé era.
The ethos that I continue to present is simply the natural equation derived from the calculus of an astute, thoughtful and distinguished mindset of indigenous heritage.
And so, there is everything patriotic about what needs to said, and the ability to say so skilfully, in an unbiased, credible and influential manner that Caribbean News Now, and other global media afford.
Intelligence and the modern triangle
Under American law, section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 allows the government to intercept the communications of foreign targets as they cross US soil, including conversations with American citizens.
Many Americans have been “incidentally” caught up in 702 surveillance systems that can be quite chilling.
With questions swirling about government leaks, cyber attacks, social media hacks and communication intercepts, has the future of surveillance extended to Saint Lucia?
Hence, what can one expect from the government of Saint Lucia to inquiries on intelligence systems and private investigators capabilities?
As oftentimes expressed, governments don’t want you to know what they are doing to confuse rivals. To some extent, in recognition of push and pull economic theories, human rights abuses, domestic and international law and political intercourse that bring pleasure to dicey egos.
But on the subject of safety and security and the lack of it in the best of circumstances, and on the heels of human rights violations, extreme surveillance does raise the question of opposition research!
In this era, nothing should be taken for granted, or be surprising and unthinkable on the biblical proviso that, human nature is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
However, amid the era of “peeling off” opponents and cracking down on critics of the government, to perhaps strike fear and submission, a concept of fanatic imperialism: caution should be imply on the intent and /or irregular use of extreme surveillance and the utilization of auxiliary services.
Preferably, in the guise of force sterilization and systemic failures, it would serve best to deploy intelligence systems and services to emerge from the Leahy law dilemma.
In return, this would give life to a renaissance agenda relative to renewable energy, security and commerce. If there’s any doubt, err on the absence of such an exchange, that the social order is doomed, at the private feasting of ill-annexed opportunity.
Nevertheless, amidst the external headwinds and the rising tide of domestic opposition faced by the government of Saint Lucia it is not a surprise that governance is derelict and national security is in peril.
The reality of crime and its side-effects are prominent and currently being discussed both internally and externally. Government has lost control to hard-liners who demand a free hand to relish their newfound power to gain substantial benefits. In addition, proponents of nefarious activities double dip and sing like canaries from two song books, the political and commercial.
These dynamics point to a backdrop of organized crime, human trafficking, money laundering, narcotics and systemic corruption. The making of a smugglers paradise!
Still, diverging paths are more intricate when national security minister, Hermangild Francis recently expressed concern over Venezuelans heading for Saint Lucia.
Going back, successive governments’ approach has been incompatible to signal their intention to take a tough stance on sovereignty, security and immigration reform. Add in the current unpredictability, limited technical analysis, questions not yet answered, Venezuelans have sharpened their high-skills to enter Saint Lucia’s well-known territorial waters with a high rate of success.
Among the foreign nationals at Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF), seven Venezuelans, three St Vincent and the Grenadines nationals and three French nationals face charges for firearms related offences, money laundering and possession of cannabis. And of the 56 Saint Lucian nationals behind bars in Martinique for various offences, 36 will be released before the end of 2018.
These practices help facilitate the modern triangle of Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Martinique. Saint Lucia is also said to be a transshipment hub for drug trafficking and smuggling other unregulated products and services.
On land, foreign nationals operate with precision and comfort that is enshrined in history. This reminds me of Sunday, August 8, 2010, when two Venezuelan nationals and a Saint Lucian escaped from the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) with the assistance of heavily armed masked men. To date there has been no resolution of this matter.
Also critical, even after significant clarity in published articles, Venezuela’s collapse has happened, February 15, 2016, and Venezuela: A perfect storm of disaster that shouldn’t have happened, June 16, 2016, – the narrative is inconsistent with a clear strategy, contingency or dramatic impact in the throes of historical upheaval in Venezuela.
The situation is unacceptable, but underscores just how flustered the government of Saint Lucia is, tasked with securing vulnerable and porous borders.
Moreover, it is reasonable to ask whether Francis has the combined powers, policy and persuasion to sway advocates to act with him to end the sense of permanent crisis.
On August 14 at a pre-cabinet news conference, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced that the ministry of immigration has been directed to prepare a document for consideration in relation to visa restrictions for Venezuelans visiting Saint Lucia. To my mind that’s an irrational proposition not based on foreign policy or legal immigration principles and compassion for human rights deserving of an island state indebted to Venezuela.
What if Venezuela should reciprocate and called on Saint Lucia to pay up on outstanding PetroCaribe and other financial transactions? An action that would offer relief and satisfy the Venezuelan people and on the other hand exacerbate Saint Lucia’s depressed economy.
Once again level heads and maturity ought to be paramount, and instead buttress our borders and implement improved immigration/vetting procedures and develop a policy to attract high skill and intelligent immigrants towards the development of Saint Lucia.
That’s elementary, right?
By this, a security forum under the guidance of a national security council is paramount to facilitate viable options and serve as a central construct to resource systems, develop policy and advance strategies to reform law and order.
Besides unmasking falsehood and bringing truth to light, a full-fledged intelligence agency would presage a well trained and well-coordinated national security apparatus, capable of protecting the socio-economic interest.
But that’s probably besides the point on the subject line of deference and denial that ignores and defines the authenticity, on the state of affairs in Saint Lucia – indifference!
In part 2: The art of the bluff and polarization in Saint Lucia
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]