Former National Security Minister Guy Mayers believes the prime minister’s address on the Jamaican investigator’s report has “demoralised” the Royal Saint Police Force (RSLPF) and may now be affecting how officers fight crime.
On March 8, 2015, in a 27-minute address to the nation, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony released what he called the “main findings” of an independent investigation into the alleged 2009-2011 extra-judicial killings by the RSLPF. The report alleged that the force worked from a “black list or death list” of persons deemed criminals and officers staged all shooting-death sites to legitimise their actions.
The investigation was conducted by a team of eight investigators from the Jamaican Constabulary Force. The St. Lucia government secured their services through the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).
Mayers said Dr. Anthony should not have released anything in the report.
“I think the prime minister’s approach to handling the IMPACS report was totally irresponsible and that kind of irresponsible behaviour on behalf of the prime minister, I think is having its repercussions,” Mayers told HTS.
“I said before, that the way he handled it to me was improper. The prime minister’s speech should take no more than two minutes, and if he felt that there were damaging things in the report, his responsibility was to hand the report to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), and he could have said so without the points in the report that he highlighted.”
Mayers further stated: “We noticed that based on the things that he said, it has caused the police force to be demoralised. And how in the world the same police that you accuse of all sorts of stuff are going to feel empowered to really go out there and put themselves on the line? The same persons who have to now go out there and deal with the few criminals who are causing so much disturbance in the country. And so we need to be very careful. I have always said that from day one that we should not politicise crime.”
The alleged extra-judicial killings by police officers were carried during “Operation Restore Confidence” – an initiative then Prime Minister Stephenson King announced on May 30, 2010 in an address to the nation.
The police operation was in response to an unprecedented wave of homicides and violent crimes between 2008 and 2010, particularly in the northern half of the island.
Between 2010 and 2011, 12 persons were killed during encounters with officers of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
The United States (US), citing human rights concerns, took action against the St. Lucia police force and the government, ceasing all financial and technical assistance to the St. Lucia Coast Guard, banned the Government of St. Lucia from purchasing ammunition from the US for its American-made weapons.
Other consequences included revoking the visa of the former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Moses Charles, who led the special task force during Operation Restore Confidence and denying Commissioner of Police, Vernon Francois, entry to the US, even to attend security meetings with officials of the US.
As a result, the St. Lucia government enlisted the services of the Jamaican through IMPACS to investigate the police killings. Prime Minister Anthony described the report of the investigators as “extremely damning” and “brings home the extreme gravity of this matter”.
Meanwhile, there have been four homicides in five days in Castries, particularly on Chaussee Road.