National security and immigration are two major components of sovereignty that the region can do with much better regulations and enforcement. If not, the pristine innocence of ‘every ting irie, man’ will remain open for the profit of crime and the underworld to take advantage of.
Most worrisome will be the aftermath of the huge social cost (education, medical services, housing, sanitation, the prison system) that will be borne by an ever shrinking work force and tax base.
In this scenario, increased regulatory burdens will stifle business enterprise and eventually evaporate cash flow and state reserves to meet obligations, including retirement costs for pensioners.
Prior calls for a national policy on crime and security, and the free movement of people (immigration) through our porous borders are of paramount importance.
The reality, however, is that policy influences economic viability, sovereignty, and the rule of law at the expense of high risk. Skewed priorities continue to echo at Saint Lucia’s barebones budget and, according to reports, negotiating predatory loans and contracts that will push the debt far into the future.
This is heading in the wrong direction, with mounting debt troubles and future liabilities that do not appear on national accounts. Therefore, who’s buying Saint Lucia’s debt, while failing to fix a segregated economy, and increasing the odds that justice is for those who can afford it in a society that is politically paralyzed by infantile political tantrums.
These only serve to undermine the economy and place it further into monopoly power, governance and laws that have power over our sovereignty.
If in doubt consider the reality that the Leahy Law appears in different acts [Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended] … [DOD Appropriations Act for FY 2012(Div. A, P.L.112-74), Sec.8058] … [Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, section 620M]. And it is essential to understanding US action in the Caribbean by means of behind the scene politics, economics, governance and sovereignty issues that impact the region.
And that’s where personal responsibility that falls on voters to elect bold leaders with a vision to forge long-term solution is critical and for policymakers to understand in-depth, the adverse consequence to renege on previously signed protocols.
Taking a wild swings at treaties, conventions and political agreements signed by governments is a battle that is not won by a theatre of the absurd that may play well at election time but, rather, it is a change of character, social conscience and observing our cultural values with strong leadership and collective legislative action that will reinforce the rule of law in the region and avert further crisis.
The demographic challenge on hand cannot wait much longer for constitutional reform and the fancies of policymakers with little to no positive influence at home or abroad. In particular, when turning a blind eye to the rule of law has fueled widespread backlash, resentment and self-defeating economic obstacles.
So what’s the fear over IMPACS investigation and the recommendations, when the damage has already been done?
Perhaps the biggest reason you’ve heard is that the report suggests that “the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers.”
But beneath it all is the ineptitude to take the courageous decisions to the main findings of investigations into the alleged extra-judicial killings by the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. All the while knowing that “In effect, if the sanctions are to be removed, we must show proof that we are taking corrective steps to deal with the situation.”
Meanwhile the economy of Saint Lucia is made worse by tin-pot party elites and petty dictators that struggle to keep hospitals open, with adequate medicines and services, keep water in our pipes and provide safety and security on our streets; but take comfort to celebrate as an achievement more burial grounds, not ashamed of being described as a “stooge” of the prime minister. “Lambirds and a stooge came to market with nothing to sell”
More edifying is the Court of Appeal. “By a 2-1 majority, the Court of Appeal agreed there was an error and …I have read the dissenting judgement and I can’t agree with it not because we are championing the cause but purely on the reasoning contained in that dissenting judgement,” ~ Kenny Anthony, CMC report. Saint Lucia to table legislation to make CCJ final court.
This is a deliberate pretence and a pathetic script to promote political fondness.
The prevailing position is that the government of Saint Lucia should schedule a referendum and not rush to table legislation that will require a two-thirds majority. And if passed is very likely to end up in the courts. And what’s the hurry, when Trinidad and Tobago, the home of the Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) is yet to sign on in its entirety, together with many CARICOM countries?
Something must be fishy! Does Trinidad and Tobago know something others don’t know?
Save from the sound of silence, the justice system in Saint Lucia needs reform and a reliable infrastructure to call “the Halls of Justice.” And it is difficult to know that the forensic laboratory is closed for all the wrong reasons, while hundreds of unsolved murders and more gruesome discoveries pop-up around the island, compounding the work of crime scene investigators and homicide detectives.
In this legal crisis, it is the poor and unconnected that are repeatedly deceived and suffer the most. But it does not have to be that way, poisoning trouble souls!
In every democratic system, without the institutions of the judiciary, the law and the police, a pack mentality will lead to anarchy and disorder that is favourable to the underworld of the criminal few.
So what are the chances to witness the rule of law applied to long-outstanding issues vs. IMPACS investigative findings that:
- “Members of the High Command of the Police Force who may have been involved in ‘covering up’ these matters”;
- “The report confirms that ‘the blacklist or death lists’ referenced by the media, human rights organizations, victim’s families and citizens alike did exist”;
- “The investigators report that all the shootings reviewed were ‘Fake Encounters’ staged by the Police to legitimize their actions”;
- “That the weapons supposedly found on the scene of the alleged ‘extra judicial killings’ were from sources other than the victims. The investigators say that the weapons were planted on the scene of the shootings”;
- “The investigators also advised that a number of shootings were done by police officers and are listed on the murder statistic as being done by unknown assailants;”
- “Investigators also reported that in the course of the investigation, some senior officers did not co-operate with them… the main server of the computers used by some members of the High Command of the Police Force was deliberately tampered with. In two instances, the operating systems of the computers were altered to place the supposed contents beyond ‘the timeline of [the] investigation’ or probe”;
- “The report has also recommended that some senior police officers be held accountable for their actions or for their failure to take appropriate action when the alleged killings occurred”;
- “The investigators also concluded that what operated during the period under review was an environment of impunity and permissiveness designed to achieve the desired results. Willful blindness existed in respect of the Commissioner of Police and particular members of his leadership and management team”:
- “The investigators have recommended that all police officers involved in the unlawful killings of citizens in respect of the files reviewed must be prosecuted”:
- “In all, the investigators made some 31 recommendations many of which touch on the management and administration of the Police Force.”
Will it be more of the same, leaving in fear in communities, towns and the city where legislators are accused of links to unsavory protagonists?
Consider the following:
- “The matter of pursuing criminal charges is the preserve of the Director of Public Prosecutions and it is she who will pronounce on the same once her actions are consistent with our Constitution”:
- “The question whether anyone is to be prosecuted is solely for the director of public prosecutions to determine after evaluating and assessing the probative value of the evidence placed before her. Likewise, it is for the courts to pronounce on the innocence or guilt of any person who may be charged. The most that the executive arm of the government can do is to provide the resources to the director of public prosecutions to carry out the duties and the responsibilities assigned to her by our Constitution.”
- “For the above reasons, save for some administrative adjustments that have now become necessary in the High Command of the Police Force, I am not here to, nor will I order that police officers be charged or dismissed or offered packages to retire from the Police Force.”
A distressing issue to confront ~ Kenny Anthony, minister for finance, economic affairs planning and social security.
Despite election promises the reality is undeniable, but perhaps provocative and presumption in the current scheme of failure to act, living room for politics as a spectator sport – cheering for and against.
Whatever the power play, the blackball and inconsistency are not well concealed but simply less acknowledged.
In the Westminster model of democracy, vast power is concentrated in the prime minister’s office. How this is used varies in accordance with ability to tackle domestic and global issues that confront society, taking into consideration convenient ideology, philosophical persuasion, lucrative contracts with businesses, seizing a larger share of the national pie for friends and associates rather than increasing its size; the lobbyist interest, and to leave open loopholes to influence future interest upon leaving office.
But without question, at the most basic level, government must take full responsibility for law and order; to guarantee safety and protection; and to provide adequate and effective response as mandated by the constitution of Saint Lucia.
If government cannot do that, then it is unfit to govern!
Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) www.lpmstlucia.com critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at [email protected]