The following is the text of the Statement by the Political Leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, on the presentation of the SLP Policy Statement on National Security
Last year, the homicide rate in Saint Lucia reached an all-time high with 48 murders. At this point, in the middle of October, the number of homicides stands at 43, only five short of last year’s unfortunate record. This past week alone, four individuals were murdered.
This is a clear indication that crime and national security are even more of a concern than they were five years ago and that despite the lofty promises of the UWP in 2006 to improve safety and security and their recent boasts that crime is under control, they have failed.
While the Saint Lucia Labour Party commends the Police for their efforts in fighting crime, the same cannot be said of the UWP administration. Not only has it failed to provide the required support to the Police, but by its very actions it has shown itself to be a government that condones illegal and dishonest behaviour. The UWP has set all the wrong examples where law and order are concerned.
EXIT REPORT BY BROUGHTON
The Saint Lucia Labour Party is now in possession of the 2008 Exit Report of former Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, John Broughton, to Guy Mayers – the current Minister for Home Affairs. Among other things, Broughton stated the following:
“It is apparent that had funding been made available to the team and the RSLPF considerably more could have been achieved.”
“Whilst some developments have been forthcoming it is clear that the project has not secured the necessary funding to allow it to deliver what it set out to achieve. This has manifest itself in the early resignation of officers (Common – Community Policing and Milner – Intelligence) who felt they had not been given the financial and other support required to deliver their portfolios. Other members of the team have continued to seek delivery albeit they found that without even the most basic financial support this was increasingly difficult.”
“The lack of ongoing funding for high visibility policing meant that gradually the benefits accrued during the early period of the project, particularly surrounding Cricket World Cup, in terms of public reassurance and reduced fear of crime gradually diminished. This was compounded by the budget decision not to fund the ongoing employment of the 85 Special Constables and fulfil the commitment to recruit to bring the force up to strength. This was despite the implications being fully understood by those making the decision who however demonstrated a basic lack of understanding of the constraints on employment within the RSLPF.”
“The failure to provide funding for the Command and Control System, AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) and the island-wide CCTV has meant that significant progress has not been easily achieved. As I have explained to numerous people at frequent presentations, the lack of a structured command and control system meant that there is a lack of accountability and structure within the organisation. In short the RSLPF has little idea what its members are doing hour by hour, whether they are available for deployment and if, more because the force is populated in the main by good, hard working individuals who use credit on their own cell phones to answer calls on behalf of the RSLPF, they are available and attend to incidents the RSLPF has limited opportunity to follow up to ensure action is taken and that outcomes are as expected. There is no central data base of calls made, incidents attended, crimes recorded, persons arrested and files submitted capable of being researched by mangers. Data is kept in handwritten form at each station and it is not possible to correlate the data recorded with a definitive list of calls received, actions taken and individuals involved. Without labouring the point I consider that the failure to source the funding for the Command and Control System has had the most significant negative impact upon the delivery of significant change within the organisation. This is despite my discussing the impact extensively with a number of senior persons, including Sir John, who acknowledged the need for the system and was the first to put the resources in the budget.
“Finance is vital and I consider one of the most significant factors on the project’s failure to fully deliver what was identified at its inception. However, there is another factor and that is the lack of direct support for the organisation and its senior management by the GOSL.”
A PIECEMEAL APPROACH BY THE UWP TO CRIME REDUCTION
Broughton went on to inform Guy Mayers that “at this time the GOSL approach to crime reduction and community safety is piecemeal.”
He added, “I think that if we had secured the resources and support to achieve what we articulated in our report in December 2006 this final summary would be far more positive. The people of St Lucia have an expectation that policing and security will be delivered by their government and by the RSLPF.”
Broughton concluded by warning that:
“Failure to invest in policing and security will ultimately impact on the state’s ability to deliver education, health care road networks etc., etc. It is short sighted and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the cost benefit analysis. St Lucians deserve more and I implore the government to recognise the need for support in all its forms for the RSLPF.”
THE VISION OF THE FORMER SLP GOVERNMENT
When the British Police were recruited by the Labour government in 2006, the intention was for them to introduce modern, scientific approaches to policing and crime reduction, and to train and mentor our police officers so that they could meet the increasing demands of their jobs. It is clear that this approach had started to pay dividends from John Broughton’s final report to Guy Mayers. In a report entitled “Achievements of the British Technical Team”, dated 22 October, 2008, almost three years ago to this date, the British Team noted that as a result of the training of officers in major crime investigation, the introduction of a gang intelligence data base, the implementation of a new policy on murder investigation and the training given in crime scene management and coaching in better forensic investigation, there was a 36% reduction in the homicide rate and an 80% increase in the detection rate by the Police. The establishment of a Child Protection and Domestic Abuse Unit and the provision of specialized training for the officers in that Unit caused an increase in 20% of the reporting of these incidents. That report also highlighted several other initiatives undertaken by the Team with the rank and file of the RSLPF that would have resulted in much better outcomes where national security and citizen safety are concerned had they been given the support of the UWP administration.
THE SLP ‘S APPROACH TO CRIME REDUCTION
The Saint Lucia Labour Party recognizes that a successful approach to crime reduction must consist of improvements at the level of the Police Force, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, the Justice System and the social sectors. We cannot speak of successes in the fight against crime unless we tackle the problems at all levels and this will be the strategy of the next Labour government.
We believe the Police must be given better, more modern tools to fight and prevent crime. So, we will provide them with new crime fighting tools, including an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), funding for which we had made provision in 2006 but which was scrapped by the UWP administration.
We support, as Broughton had recommended, the introduction of closed-circuit television (CCTV) in places of interest, and non-lethal weapons to use in non-life threatening situations.
We will also introduce legislation to allow for the use of electronic bracelets with curfews for those on remand as well as offenders who have been released before completing their sentences. The idea is to monitor the movement out of prison of lower-risk offenders.
An SLP government will also establish new units to assist in the fight against crime. We will overhaul the approach to intelligence. We will create a National Intelligence Authority to handle the management of police intelligence.
The Labour Party will conduct a critical review of the Office of the DPP and improve the ability of that Office to prosecute crime.
We will boost the capacity of the Marine Police and work with our external partners to install a radar system to help us track and intercept the boats that move illegal cargo into and out of our country.
We will introduce some important pieces of legislation, including a new, modern Police Act to govern the administration of the Police Force. Our current Police Act was enacted in colonial times and no longer serves the need of a modern police force and society. The new Police Act will, among other things, make provision for an independent tribunal to determine cases of alleged indiscipline or misconduct by Police Officers.
We will establish what we have described as Police Consultative Committees (PCC), to work hand in hand with the police in their districts of operation. These committees will comprise citizens in the various communities and will allow for greater interactions between the police and Civil Society.
We will also review the sentencing regime for drug offenders to allow for rehabilitation as part of the sentencing process.
The Juvenile Justice System will be one of the areas of focus of our administration, as we move to prevent the early criminalization of young people by encouraging alternative sentencing, probation, and the diversion of cases from the courts through dispute settlement.
An SLP government will, however, take a very strong position on anti-social behaviour and work closely with community groups to help our communities to reject the culture for domestic violence, child abuse, drug trafficking, and gang activity.
All schools will be declared Safe Zones, where there will not only be a zero tolerance to violence, but the penalties for certain offenses will be increased. An SLP government will put in place very strict penalties prohibiting the sale of alcohol at youth activities and clamp down on the illegal sale of alcohol to our minors.
We will also establish programmes in all schools dealing with drug prevention, conflict resolution, mentoring, family values, and health promotion. A Labour government will use all avenues and media at our disposal to deliver an island-wide parenting skills training programme.
We understand that it is not possible to have long-term and lasting success in the fight against crime if we do not address the underlying social issues. Our comprehensive programmes in education - particularly those aimed at keeping more of our young boys in school and constructively engaged; our employment activation programme that will provide viable alternatives to a life of crime; our social protection programme, through mechanisms like PROUD, STEP, Roving Care Givers, Elderly Home Help, and support for Single Mothers; and Universal Health Care will all be designed to ensure that the quality of life in our vulnerable communities is improved and that our citizens who are most at risk have better opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
We believe that by reducing poverty, generating more jobs and creating greater social equity we will be able to reduce the incentives that some have for engaging in criminal activity.
Together, we will make Saint Lucia safer.
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