“To provide a professional policing service and in partnership with all communities to create a safer environment for all people in St. Lucia” – the mission statement which can be found on the website of Helen’s national security team.
Why then is it the loud cry of many locals and foreigners alike that there is a dearth of the aforesaid? There have been a few rants on social media within the past few weeks and months and they appear to have fallen on deaf ears. However, I will still voice my frustration here. Probably not out of the hope of anything being done, but out of the sheer need to rant in the hearing of someone else apart from my dear wife. I won’t give much details but just hear me out.
June 19th, 2016 – Father’s Day: Incoming call from dad while having breakfast at about 9 a.m. I answered this call a bit disappointed because I felt like my dad didn’t give me a chance to call him first on Father’s Day. As I was about to tell my dad that he should have waited for me to call him, I was interrupted with the bad news that he had been physically assaulted at his own house in a community on the outskirts of Castries city by a pair of ….. umm… young men.
This house is the first home I knew. This community is where I used to like visiting on holidays. Now, it is just a hotspot of crime. In fact, recently someone else in the community lost their dad to a knife wound inflicted by their sibling.
These youths had been trespassing and for calling upon them to desist, they advanced towards my dad to the point of his front door and they attacked him leaving him with head injuries including a broken nose, eye damage, shoulder injuries and a list of other discomforts.
Breakfast halted, I rushed down to him to take him to the hospital while my cousin contacted the police. Lo and behold, the commencement of my frustration.
These ‘young men’ are neighbors of my dad. March 19th, 2017 they haven’t been arrested yet! Three months short of a year. After the initial report on June 19th, the prime suspect had gone into hiding so he wasn’t in the area for some time. But he visited periodically. Whenever he comes around my dad calls me and I call the police. There is always a reason why they can’t go at the time or why they take so long that he leaves. This has been my plight every 1 or 2 weeks when he is in the area.
You know what pisses me off even more? The attitude of these officers. It’s like they pretty much fist you as a victim with an entire lube-less forearm! Calling so frequently and speaking the Queen’s English so as to not unnecessarily aggravate the officers (because they more vex you call), I have to brief whoever answers on the case each time. The investigating officer is never at work during the hours I call, he never returns my call when I ask for one, his supervisor defends his lack of enthusiasm on the matter, and everyone seems to just be clocking out their time while counting down to the early pension that police officers can get.
I almost wish that every one of them suffer bricks and stones to the face like my dad did so they can understand what we go through without any sort of protection from them. But then I remember that there are actually good officers on the force. I am yet to have come across one when needed, but I believe they exist somewhere within the ranks.
Thanks for finally issuing a warrant for the arrest a little over 6 months after the assault. Thanks for sending a police van to drive through without stopping on that Sunday about 2 months ago and just say you passed and didn’t see him. Thanks for informing me that there were no vans in the yard. Thanks for telling me you will look into it. Thanks for putting me in my place when I expressed frustration. Oh, and thanks to Inspector …. for expressing how upset you were with that sweet lady at the police complaints commission for simply calling to find out what was going on.
I understand that the police force may be suffering due to a lack of resources. But I think we are fooled with an impression of what that lack is. Elementary (or maybe early secondary) school taught me that a country’s greatest resource is its people. Do we lack resources? Or is it resourceful people that are in short supply? Ever wonder why the public sector pales in comparison to the high standard of ethics realized in the private sector? Being told to call back when the investigating officer is on duty to get information on a life and death situation is unacceptable. In case it was forgotten, remember your pledge as a police officer:
“As a member of the Royal St.Lucia Police Force; I pledge to perform my duties honestly and faithfully, without fear, favor or prejudice. I shall serve my country with the highest level of integrity and professionalism. I shall display a high level of pride and dignity, and at all times uphold a positive image of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. This I pledge.”
If customer service training is needed, I would gladly facilitate. And whatever many of the Saint Lucian populous can do to assist, I’m sure we would be happy to. Just do what you pledged to do as an officer. Please. You have friends, you have families. Consider another officer doing this to your family. I’ll go back to tracking down these guys on our 238 square miles to give more tip offs. Hopefully one day they’ll be apprehended.
Who knows, the “heavy SSU presence” on the site of the DSH project may actually be more useful tracking down criminals such as those in the many outskirt communities of Castries.
Meanwhile, pray with me that I don’t “arrest” them myself because I am adequately equipped to do so. I just don’t want to do it for fear that I may be bringing in dead meat.