The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) has said it is “disgusted” with an address issued by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Antony in response to the US’s decision to ban St. Lucia police from participating in security related training that it funds.
In a statement, the LPM accused Dr. Anthony of using “blame game tactics” in his address, and stated that the government has “failed to take responsibility” for the issue.
Dr. Anthony in a statement on Tueday night said that the killing of 12 persons by police officers between 2010 and 2011 under what was described then as “Operation Restore Confidence” is the reason behind the United States’ decision to disallow officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from participating in training programmes arranged or financed by the United States.
This, along with the plans to deal with the issue, was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony during his address entitled “An Unhappy Episode.”
The LPM’s entire statement has been reprinted below:
The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), express its profound disgust with the continued “blame game tactic” that Kenny Anthony continues to use in his government’s defence, in response to the United States’ decisive action of disallowing members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to benefit from security related training funded by U.S. authorities.
According to the LPM leader Therold Prudent, Kenny Anthony refuses to take responsibility for his own government’s unacceptable response to the “extra-judicial killings” committed by an “ad hoc” group of officers within the police force. Prudent added that, “Governance is about taking full responsibility and correcting the preserved mistakes and awful practices of previous administrations.
As the leader of our nation, coupled with his profession as an attorney, Kenny Anthony should have immediately dealt with this grave issue, knowing full well, there are dire consequences for ignoring human rights abuses.
The LPM noted a critical point in the Prime Minister’s statement on Tuesday evening, stating the following: “Yesterday, I was also advised that the United States has gone one step further and suspended all assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.” This strong signal given to Kenny Anthony could also have been interpreted as his refusal to act after eighteen months in office. Also, the minimal attention paid to those human rights violations (by his government), is just as disappointing to U.S. authorities as the United Workers Party’s unsatisfactory response to the crime problem on the island.
Having noted the dismal approach of the SLP administration to dealing with this serious human rights issue; the LPM continues to be disturbed by some of the strategies Kenny Anthony has pursued to solve this problem.
According to Prudent, “How can the Prime Minister invite a CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to investigate the unlawful conduct surrounding the “extra-judicial killings” when some CARICOM countries have their own issues that potentially violate the ’Leahy Law’?”
An effective step to dealing with this crisis would be to invite an independent investigative unit from Canada or Europe where a more thorough investigation consistent with international investigative and reporting standards can be expected.
The Lucian People’s Movement recall occasions where some local organizations and professionals were ridiculed for attempting to promote human rights laws in all facets of our daily activities on the island, – initiatives that would have paved the way for a more transparent and accountable government today.
Most recently, we witness that very same behaviour after Prudent, courageously sent out a strong message to Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-Jeou, requesting that former Taiwan president Chen Shui-Bian be provided medical parole – a decision that would meet human rights standards.
Later, in a published story entitled, “Call by St. Lucia political party echoes around the world”, Prudent, again emphasized the need to seriously consider human rights laws when conducting ourselves on the island.
He said, “Let’s not forget the lesson for us in Latin America and the Caribbean is simple – ‘human rights matter’ in other parts of the world. As a region, we cannot continue to operate in a bubble with outstretched arms for foreign aid. We cannot continue to arm ourselves with the narrow mindedness of local politics with all of its self-righteousness. And, we cannot continue to ignore the personal sufferings of citizens locally and in distant lands, which daily pay the ultimate price for our chronic dependence on foreign aid.”