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COMMENTARY: St Lucia’s national security in peril

By Melanius Alphonse

The question was asked by Allen Chastanet in the 2016 general elections: “Has Kenny Anthony made Saint Lucia safer? He didn’t, but we will. He didn’t, but I will… this is the most important decision to consider in the upcoming campaign.”

Throughout our history, storytelling has been commonplace, but there is an obvious contradiction. Saint Lucia has already recorded 32 homicides in July, compared to 31 homicides for all of 2016.

This is admittedly a dramatic escalation and perchance, as in past episodes, there is seemingly a systematic cleansing, one from another in a dysfunctional justice system and Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) operating at maximum capacity.

National security minister, Hermangild Francis has conceded, “St Lucia is facing an unprecedented crime wave. The police force has been neglected over the last few years and police stations are dilapidated with limited training opportunities for officers.”

In part, while efforts are being made to remedy the situation, a weak police force and security framework limit law enforcement. Eventually this could decimate the nation’s security and cripple efforts to revive economic growth.

By now, deeper resolve and better resources to arrive at appropriate measures to unplug US sanctions via the Leahy Law to both Operation Restore Confidence (ORC) and IMPACS, should have been brought to bear once and for all to remove this albatross around the neck of all Saint Lucians.

But that hasn’t happened yet, although, based upon my own discussions with those that are in a position to be able to help in this regard, there is a way out but, in my view, this will take genuine national cooperation separated from political agendas and party or personal self-interest.

In the absence of politics and government created-catastrophes, the national security apparatus ought to focus more decisively on the perils of violence and lawlessness, with suggestions and appropriate strategies, rather than halfway measures and maneuvers that create more friction, damaging the image of Saint Lucia.

Nonetheless, safeguards from previous situations may well have been effective to combat the current crime wave “had serious resources been made available to the RSLPF from early on in the IMPACS investigation and meaningful recourse to address with priority and immense urgency, aspects of the IMPACS report, rather than mere political optics, it might well have been more effective in stabilizing the security crisis at hand.

“Against that background, the real issue is the apparent culture, values and social inequality that produce a sub-culture of white-collar and vicious crimes that is obscuring the country.”

“Leahy Law restrictions remain in place against the Royal St Lucia Police and still subject to US sanctions, meanwhile the 2018 budget not only proposes a 29 percent cut in State Department funding, it also reduces spending on an already financially constrained US Coast Guard.”

The State Department and USAID, part and parcel of America’s “soft power” apparatus, could further complicate the situation for Saint Lucia if the proposed combining of the two institutions are permitted. USAID disaster relief programs and assistance response and deployment could envisage more vigorous approvals.

In contrast, the recent US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act’s “release of a new US government strategy on future engagement with the Caribbean… to ensure we strengthen cooperation with our hemisphere in the areas of trade, security, economic development, and energy.”

The latest series of bilateral relations have not resolved systematic strategies to strengthen national security and foreign policy capacity.

This cannot continue much longer in the face of recent behaviours and ongoing investigations by US authorities into possible money laundering and offences under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as more sanctions may lead to freeze assets and additional travel restrictions.

In response to ongoing concerns, policy and decision makers will have to make the next big shift and not succumb to the herd mentality and common politics, from one vicious cycle to the other.

Furthermore, the interest should be that of the greater good without damaging mutual trust in domestic and international cycles or ending in failure or tragedy, to the many underlying problems and terrifying daily realities.

The reality is undeniable, a failure of epic proportions that is becoming ungovernable. After all, a serious clinical treatment in many ways is most desirable.

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.

18 comments

  1. When St.Lucian men (as responsible heads of households) start to think with their brains and not their penis things will start turn around. When they begin to seek wisdom, direction and guidance from the LORD you will see the difference in the country.

    (0)(0)
  2. Hermangil Francis runs the ministry of national security like a policeman and not like a diplomat , that's the problem .

    (0)(0)
  3. Once again, Melanius seemingly offers haughty opinions from his comfortable home office in Toronto, Canada that generally appears to be uninformed with respect to the 'on the ground' socio-economic realities and day to day imperatives facing our nation.

    Melanius states: "This cannot continue much longer in the face of recent behaviours and ongoing investigations by US authorities into possible money laundering and offences under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as more sanctions may lead to freeze assets and additional travel restrictions."

    Former Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and others of a similar, sometimes but not always ineffectual political ilk laid the foundations years before and sold it as being the future. And he wasn't wrong on this one.

    Melanius accuses the UWP. Try again, it's factuallt speaking incorrect and is a reminder of the desperate lashing out, shameless press-release based early election campaign posturing that the Opposition seems be attempting.

    Should Melanius actually have the occupational credentials claimed in his bio, one might question whether he is selectively ignoring reality. Or, perhaps not spending time in St. Lucia with the spectrum of people that make our nation what it is, actively listening, and knowing from the inside how things work from the proverbial 60,000 foot level of a national-level decision-maker to the level of a woman trying to make ends with 2 kids and and incomplete secondary level education. His seeming lack of awareness is sad. It really is.

    Returning to how the former government laid the foundations, former Prime Minister Anthony was quoted as recently as in February 2016 as saying:

    "...If we want to survive in this new environment, we will need to be bold and imaginative... it is imperative that we do not become so consumed with our regulatory commitments that we lose our ability to innovate and create new products for the financial marketplace...”

    https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/st-lucia-welcomes-more-new-investments/

    Perhaps Prime Ministerial code-speak for [sector-specific technical financial terminology deleted] off-shore banking? You be the judge.

    God Bless.

    (23)(3)
  4. It would appear that the writer does not understand the subtle difference between safety and security, at the national level. Anything that pops into the confused brain is just vomited for public consumption.

    (3)(0)
  5. Chastanet is a big talkier just like all these politicians.AND THE PEOPLE ARE MORE STUPID...Letting politicians use them for votes. He make big press release about transforming the SSU into a military unit and building half way houses for criminals.

    I always knew it was garbage this dude talking. But Lucian UWP hack was praising the initiative like it's going to happen up till now he can't follow up.

    STOP MAKING POLITICIANS USE YOU ALL

    (5)(3)
  6. Say it like you see it!

    (0)(1)
  7. Its our bin collection that is peril at the moment, 3 weeks I have waited now to get rid of my ex-husbund.

    (1)(0)
  8. The problem with the police force has nothing to do with years of neglect. It has to do with lack of leadership starting from successive minister's. With a bunch of johnnies come lately in charge, who only know to watch the clock, callendar and cash, things just start getting out of hand. Who will be motivated to work when the people in charge cannot advise them on any thing to do with policing. We have hell coming our way. Brace yourself lucians

    (4)(0)
  9. STUPID LUCIANS. THEY'RE NEVER SATISFIED,, WITH ANYTHING GOOD. Had a GREAT PRIME MINISTER,, ANTHONY,, BUT VOTED HIM OUT TO PUT ARROGANT ALLEN CHASTANET,, WHO DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THEM. TAKE WHAT YOU GET,, YOU 'IDIOTS'

    (11)(14)
    • We should and we are never satisfied with just second-rate 'good'. We deserve, and in all ways, the best.

      (3)(2)
  10. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.

    – Hebrews 1: 4

    (0)(0)
  11. I do not agree with that headlines that. It sounds a bit over-the-top like Ronald Reagan with Grenada. Take it back.

    (17)(5)
  12. It takes a seven-month or nine-month pregnancy to create our potential criminals. Depending a lot on home environment, and on educational training, that individual will make certain incremental decisions. One decision leads to another. All of those will add up. We get can get someone who can only wield a cutlass without criminal intent to cut the STEP grass or be a maid. Or, they be able to make something special of their life. Decisions, decisions, and decisions. Most of our criminals are barely 18 or past 20 years old.

    If the home did not provide the right environment, the school system also failed them. But who controlled the school environment mostly in the last 15 or so of the formational years of our criminal youth? The SLP.

    If you cannot understand that, you know nothing about national education. Or, you are just unashamedly biased.

    (10)(3)
    • Charity begins at home. don't blame the school or the SLP for your child's bad behavior. If you can't control your child at home, how the hell do you expect him or she to react in school or the public? School don't encourage children to become criminals, parents have a bigger role to play in this situation. every child knows right from wrong, when the school tries to help they get threatened, so what can the school do about a child the has such behavior. most of these cases happens to kids who grew up without a father figure in their life. and instead of making something good of themselves they chose to do bad. So i wouldn't go about blaming the political parties and schools, they do make the effort, but they can't do it alone.

      (2)(1)
      • Since when it became the job of teenage parents to anticipate what the future economy would look like, and train the young to make the learning adjustments? Since when?

        When you refuse to accept the need for better quality representation at the political level, be ready to be governed by pure idiots. How can I help you?

        (1)(0)
  13. The people of St. Lucia allowed them selves to be fooled by a stupid person; Allan Chastanet and his stupidity , because of their greed and now they crying. All of those that are crying now voted for chastenet. More will cry,

    (27)(38)
    • You are 100 percent correct. Going a bit deeper, our ancestors suffered under massa rule. All the suffering they still went to vote fir Chastanet. This man is selling St.Lucia right under us. Black people are way too stupid.

      (3)(1)

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