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Thursday, August 8, 2013


The details are still sketchy and confirmation is still pending! But there are emerging “snippets” of the shocking news that the top hierarchy of the Royal Saint Lucia Force (RSLPF) was denied entry into the US to participate in police training activities sponsored by the US.

It is not clear whether their passports were suspended or revoked.

It is further suggested that there may be a strong link between the action of US State Department and earlier allegations of extra-judicial killings levelled at the RSLPF by a self-styled female human rights city attorney.

The incidents leading the “punitive action” by the US authorities may have its genesis in an incident which happened in VF during the reign of the King Administration and when Senator Guy Mayers was minister for National Security.

Pressured by strong police presence and action in the inner city, criminal gangs started making their way down south; and then one night acting on intelligence, the police tracked an armed gang of robbers as they trekked from Castries to VF to make their loot at a certain business place. The police claimed that when they tried to intercept and "pre-empt" the “looting operation” by the armed robbers, they were shot at; and when they returned the fire, it was reported that a total of four was counted dead.

Mary Francis dubbed the alleged police action as “extra judicial killings”.  

At the time of the incident our national security was under threat by a spate of criminal activities which included a high frequency of murders, daring daylight robberies and Django-type shootings especially within the city (which was perceived to be under a state of siege by organised gangs of criminals). The public clamoured loudly for strong police and government action and the police especially was under extreme pressure to restore our extremely fragile national security situation to a state of normalcy.

In response, the police “cordoned off” and “saturated” the inner city with their strongest possible presence. That strategy put the criminals on the defensive  and precipitated in a shift in their zone of criminal operation southward and into the hinterlands.

All of sudden, the south and the hinterlands became a veritable hotbed of criminal activity with the main targets being businesses, tourists and expats (especially British and American tourists).

In Choiseul, for example, a female American citizen was terrorised at gun point and her home was burglarised in the dead of night. It is a miracle that she escaped alive - a fact that Mary Francis and Amnesty International ignored completely. (They should have visited St. Lucia to experience first-hand what was happening to our country and to put the strong action of the police in context.)

It was apparent that while the country was bleeding from the reign of terror and carnage by the criminals and the police was figuring out ways to deal with the situation, Mary and friends were coming to the rescue of those criminals in the name of human rights.

Having said all of the above, I’m of the general view that if anybody should be held responsible for St. Lucia being in the bad books of the US State Department or Amnesty International, then it should be the DPP – not the Commissioner of Police and his men! Why? Because of the DPP’s inaction, non-action or even delayed action, she should shoulder the blame for Saint Lucia’s poor image in the eyes of the international community - for she should have immediately started the process to get wheels of justice turning to bring closure to the related judicial and human right issues involved. Up to now, there’s no feedback and it’s unfortunate that, under those circumstances, it has to be the top hierarchy of the RSLPF that has to face the disgrace. Doesn’t that translate into a victory for the criminal elements in our society?

Meanwhile, I want to applaud the Commissioner and his men for the great job they have done to restore national security to the island over time and when it mattered. While I do not support extreme police action in any form, I also believe there are times when the police can use its discretionary powers vested in them under the law to help bring about safety and security to citizens.  After all, Israel does it all the time with impunity. Shouldn't St. Lucia reserve the right to do the same to safeguard its national security when it matters?

President Obama, I’m disappointed that your own national security policy did not take into consideration all “the variables in the equation” when your state department was making that crucial decision. Perhaps, we should have outsourced that function to you at the time and learn from your "best practices".

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