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COMMENTARY: The reality of crime in St Lucia

By Melanius Alphonse

The second part of the Caribbean News Now exclusive interview with Allen Chastanet, prime minister of Saint Lucia, discussed the problem of increased crime, which is pertinent to the economic viability of his 100 percent tourism focus, as well as the ability to attract offshore financial services under the Headquarters Act.

On the subject of crime, first, let’s examine measure and perhaps obstacles to get past the status quo and the ingenuity required to create and implement new policies that advance the situation.

In previous articles, I addressed the rule of law and lack thereof including the most recent St Lucia’s national security in peril, and that national security minister Hermangild Francis has conceded, “St Lucia is facing an unprecedented crime wave.”

This contrasts with claims made by Prime Minister 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” whereas since the elections the country has been plunged into even deeper lawlessness and record breaking homicides, currently at 33 for 2017.

The prime minister’s budget speech sub-heading, the Socio-Economic Reality in Saint Lucia, read: “Crime, violence, abuse, lack of respect for people and property, these have become the norm and part of our daily existence. We must encourage discourse but not destruction. We have to set better standards for ourselves and for our children and take pride in our country.”

This is instructive to present day reality in that it underlines attitude and behaviour, transactions associated with government and the integrity aspect of public life that trickles down from the top.

According to a Facebook comment, Chastanet is not in a position to discuss crime when he has Ubaldus, a minister in the ministry of finance, who reportedly told a young girl that he has not paid as much as $700 for sex, which stands to reason that he has made some form of payment.

Another Facebook user cited the recent resignation of former senator Jimmy Henry as minister in the ministry of agriculture, fisheries, physical planning, natural resources and cooperatives, who refuses to tell the nation the real reason ‘Lament’ was stopped for questioning at the airport by police. Then he needs to explain why the campaign manager is or was locked up?

Perhaps there is a co-relationship derived from elected officials that sets the standard for a lawless and degenerate society, rather than the leadership by example and behaviour in harmony with social and political ethics.

There cannot be two set of rules. One for the political and elite class and one for the ordinary and common people and a judicial system that is incapable of addressing basic violations of human rights. These misadventures are certain to set the standard for what is acceptable of behaviour for the general public.

And this trait is by no means unique to the United Workers Party (UWP). In March of last year, then prime minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, made a public assertion that serial rapists were on the loose in Saint Lucia and expressed “a deep sense of outrage, revulsion and anger about the recent spate of rapes in our country”.

“For my part, I will ensure that the police force implement my suggestion that a dedicated unit be established within the force to investigate rapes and bring to justice those responsible for these heinous acts,” he added.

However, Anthony’s sanctimony was exposed by the reminder that, in two earlier cases in which then serving senior Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government officials were arrested and charged with rape, neither was “brought to justice”. In each case, the matter was settled “out of court” (read paid off).

Given the entrenched attitudes at the top levels of government of both parties, is there a realistic hope of making a difference?

The Royal St Lucia Police Force is facing well publicised constraints following the withdrawal US assistance under the Leahy Law, the inability to establish effective leadership at all levels of the police force and domestic budget cuts in FY 2017/18, all of which collectively impact law enforcement capabilities.

Commenting on the crime situation in June, the prime minister said, “We have to start with the judicial system and that government has made allocations for additional police vehicles, which will be sourced through money the police have seized.”

This concept is quite extraordinary and egregious in the context of decision making associated with law enforcement, but perhaps consistent with the supposed theory of trickledown economics.

After all, fighting crime starts at the top. Remedial efforts require personal efforts that are realistic and practical. Even then there is need to advance sound conservative policies to navigate divisiveness, the authority to demonstrate the rule of law and improve social deficiencies, through programmes and development projects.

Anything less will not create the environment to move Saint Lucia’s social and economic condition forward.

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.

5 comments

  1. L have one suggestion a crimestoppers type confidential hotline, where people can ring in for free and completely anonymously, with information on crime, other Caribbean islands have this, but not St Lucia.

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  2. One can probably reasonably assume that it is easy for Melanius to comfortably sit in Toronto, Canada and seemingly, conveniently opine in an uninformed manner on compliance and enforcement issues that he is not here to listen to first-hand, here in St. Lucia, as well as watch and live.

    The proselytizing with an implied sense of over-arching wisdom lacking practical and measurable solutions may be tiring to many, though, to his credit, he does get paid for submitting it.

    The author writes: "On the subject of crime, first, let’s examine measure and perhaps obstacles to get past the status quo and the ingenuity required to create and implement new policies that advance the situation."

    ---- These are arguably empty words and unadulterated posturing. The column offered no "measure" and seemingly neither proffered nor examined any "ingenuity" with respect to policy development. And, to add, the legislative system of our nation has all the democratic mechanisms, entrenched since even before Independence, for for the evolution and establishment of policy, as well as the legislative agility for policy change where required by the democratically elected government of the time. We have a duely elected government given a mandate by a firm majority of St. Lucians, like it of not.

    The author writes: "In previous articles, I addressed the rule of law and lack thereof including the most recent St Lucia’s national security in peril, and that national security minister Hermangild Francis has conceded, “St Lucia is facing an unprecedented crime wave.”

    --- Again, Melanius could appear to demonstrate to many a seeming lack of understanding of compliance promotion, compliance monitoring, enforcement, and the judicial system. There exists rule of law, perhaps a visit to the library might be of benefit. With respect to the term "lack thereof", perhaps what he is reaching for relates not to the established legislative back-stops that are well entrenched in St. Lucia, but, instead, in the approach to compliance and enforcement. One must be very careful to clearly decorticate the two. Laws exist. Enforcement of the laws might perhaps have been the point, but that should have been much more clearly stated, particularly by someone that claims to be a management consultant and that presumably has access to subject matter experts for which he might be out of his depth on.

    The author writes: "According to a Facebook comment," Chastanet is not in a position to discuss crime when he has Ubaldus, a minister in the ministry of finance, who reportedly told a young girl that he has not paid as much as $700 for sex, which stands to reason that he has made some form of payment.

    --- Since when did un-cited Facebook comments become material for a paid columnist's perspectives? That seems like a large stretch. Look on Facebook and one can find almost every far-ranging opinion on any subject. In the media, it's called "answer shopping", as in look for someone or a post that supports one's point. It's also known in the media as being lazy and shopping for "opinions of convenience" so as to support one's assertion. Cheap journalism.

    --- While it can be convincingly asserted that Ubaldus should be suspended until the outcome of an investigation, the column is about crime writ large. The Ubaldus matter has not been proven in a court of law and, even when one writes a column from Canada, there is a careful line that that should respectably be walked with respect to libel and slander. Move on, else dedicate a column strictly to that questionable matter which, agreed, seemingly fails the proverbial 'smell test', and, as stated in the aforementioned sentence, has not been proven in a court of law or other formal panel.

    The author wrote: "Another Facebook user cited the recent resignation of former senator Jimmy Henry..."

    --- Please see the aforementioned comment re: shopping for "opinions of convenience" so as to support one's assertion and cheap journalism. It's particularly interesting coming from a columnist that claims the experiential bio that they do.

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  3. Affected by crime

    So what would be your suggested top ten recommendations for the government to actually get crime reduced, cases solved and by that I mean got to trial not just people apprehended? Just a list

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    • My suggestion. Fire everyone in the Royal St. Lucia Police Farce and hire some competent professionals. Even the good ones there have already been tainted. Make police salaries performance based. You write X parking tickets you get paid Y etc.

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