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National security and equity continuously backsliding in St Lucia

By Melanius Alphonse

Melanius Alphonse

IMPACS investigation and the police force

April 24, 2017, Caribbean News Now reported that St Lucia may launch prosecutions of extrajudicial killings.

Recently, three police officers were brought in for questioning reportedly over alleged extrajudicial killings.

Public relations officer of the Police Welfare Association [PWA], Acting Sgt Zachary Hippolyte said, “Probing the IMPACS investigation has singled out the police force.”

Moreover, the government of Saint Lucia has not understood that this is not helpful in isolation of the report, suggesting that “the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers.”

In the midst of this, police officers seemingly working in the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and recipient of a recent donation of computers and other equipment worth EC$100,000 (US$37,000) by the US embassy in Bridgetown are said to be engaged in investigating police officers who presumable were part of Operation Restore Confidence (ORC) and implicated in the IMPACS investigation.

According to intelligence reports and private investigations, police officers who were delusional and receptive to political change are now convinced that “IMPACS will not go away until something is done. The investigation is with a view to prosecuting and/or removing from the RSLPF. There are a selected few to speak with and help with the investigation. Officers willing to cooperate will be assisted to get immunity, with an outside entity, but certainly not the US.”

Of course, the intended message is directed at the US State Department and Congress that due process is being followed to arrive at a conviction and that the intensified US national security sanctions imposed on Saint Lucia should be lifted.

However, through counter intelligence and local knowledge, the actual message transmitted is that of a false equivalence – a false flag.

Perhaps this presents the opportunity to advance regime change of the current United Workers Party (UWP) government, now faced with the difficulty of resolving a seemingly intractable problem that it created in the first place.

Clearly they ought to take responsible for the turbulent social and economic stagnation Saint Lucia faces. The continuous backsliding of national security is supposedly linked in the light of rampant corruption, plundering of public resources and human rights violations, already, a tricky catch-22 situation with Leahy Law sanctions.

The broken judicial system

The country is facing a high crime rate with 41 homicides as of this writing and albeit calls by the minister for home affairs, justice and national security, Hermangild Francis for the enforcement of capital punishment as prescribed by law.

This is hardly capable of addressing the socio-economic and psychological issues in a trickledown economic system that benefits the political class and the well connected.

The double standards are glaring. On one hand, white collar crime and corruption is endemic, and on the other the government of Saint Lucia continues to show scant regard for law and order. In addition, many citizens believe enforcement is arbitrary and victimization is a common line of attack, aimed at political opponents.

Enforcing capital punishment is not appropriate in a functioning modernized justice system and the laws guiding our democracy. That’s where the breakdown of society begins and ends.

The minister for justice and his counterparts should be pushing to address the backlog in the court system and court delays that are detrimental to democracy, peace and security.

The other is the modern application of case management and the appointment of prosecutors and court staff, magistrates and judges.

Consequently, it is insincere for Allen Chastanet, prime minister of Saint Lucia, to implore the United Nations in terms of equity and justice, when Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) is overcrowded at 518 inmates.

Prison(er) Tourism

BCF was built in 2003 to safely accommodate 450 inmates.

Following Hurricane Irma’s structural damage to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said: “So the government of Saint Lucia has agreed at the request of the British government to take in three prisoners that will be coming in from Turks and Caicos… In this instance we are only bringing in three prisoners at the first request and those prisoners are going to be coming in from Turks and Caicos of prisoners.” ~ September 13, 2017

Director of Corrections Verne Garde is of the view that “BCF is quite a dynamic holding area. We are able to be flexible in regards to the numbers.” Really!

How could that be equitable and just? And what measures are ongoing to mitigate crime, continuous overcrowding that has reached in times past, 647 inmates?

However, irrespective of the government of Saint Lucia communications strategy of misinformation the BVI gazette published the names of prisoners transferred and convicted of murder, attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearm.

Notwithstanding human rights issues, security concerns and the don’t worry philosophy of the government of Saint Lucia, no timeframe was given for the duration of BCF 40 star hospitality – the familiar reference to indicate it’s possible that Saint Lucia has the best prison in the region.

Systemic Failures

The government in our democracy has systematically failed to understand the predicament to early education, social cohesion, culture and history, and the importance of putting its people first in the development of the country.

It has become fashionable instead to leave far too many of the population behind to fend for themselves. Thus the application of plantation politics begins and legislation along party lines takes root.

According to the prime minister’s UN remarks, “We must agree that there should be a minimum standard of living for each and every one of our citizens.”

Once again, cosmetic substitutes and sound bites in particular reinforce the reality that kleptocracy and plutocracy economics comprise the Chastanet administration’s normal code of operation.

This is not helpful, but however consistent with the state of crisis that has no place in normal civilization. And that’s where a legislative agenda to unveil government’s regulatory framework is paramount to a renewed paradigm. But, quite rightly, what hope is there, “when the deck is stacked against many of the people”? Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s UN remarks.

In acknowledgement, the answer is beyond spin – regime change!

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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