I’M willing to bet my next few pay cheques that bits of the IMPACS report that now seem too sensitive to be divulged for national security reasons will soon be “leaked” into the public domain. With both main political parties ramping up support and invoking their election spirits of late, it would be foolhardy to think that only the Cabinet of Ministers’ and the Director of Public Prosecution’s eyes will remain the exclusive beholders of what the rest of who are now dying – metaphorically, of course – to know.
While everyone seems to have an opinion on what the contents of the so-called damning report are – in which police officials, public officials and businesspeople are likely suspects — the fact remains that those who know about it are not telling us. Plain and simple, the custodians of such crucial information as the IMPACS report might easily get employment at the Bush Baked Beans company where secrecy seems paramount to the product itself. At least for now, that is.
General election campaigns in Saint Lucia are notorious for bringing some truths to light that later turn out to be untruths that should have been kept in the dark. That’s the time when we get earfuls of what seem like well-documented proof linking this politician to corruption and the other to assault. That’s when both sides say that if elected they would bring Lady Justice’s vast library of books to bear on so-called criminal elements that need not see another day in local politics. For many years now, local elective politics seems to centre more on who has the dirtier dirt on whom and less on how those attractive initiatives bullet-pointed in party manifestos will be financed. In the final analysis, the people get either the government they deserve or the one they never really voted for.
One can understand why the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force – tough as the organization deems itself – has now contracted the low morale syndrome. The fact that the so-called extra-judicial killings cited in the IMPACS report are said to have been linked to police officers’ inefficiencies, cover-ups and staging of crime scenes must be hard to digest. While public officials and businesspeople have been fingered in the report, it bewilders me that unlike the police who have publicly given their two cents on the matter, not a single public official or businessperson has since confessed to suffering from such low morale syndrome or embarrassment.
Who’s to say that someone privy to the IMPACS report doesn’t leak that report based on a myriad of reasons, including the DPP’s Office dragging its legs on the matter? What if only the recommendations made by the IMPACS investigative team are leaked? That would certainly satisfy the newly-minted Acting Police Commissioner, right? What if an inebriated Cabinet colleague unwittingly divulges sensitive information to his friends at a favourite watering-hole? What if…?
My estimation of the whole likely prosecutorial process as far as the IMPACS report is concerned is that the pace of the investigation might well coincide with the timeline for the next general elections. I really cannot put my head on a block under Damocles’ sword and say with any slight bit of certitude that anyone will be convicted of wrongdoing prior to the next general elections. What will definitely happen is that innuendos, insinuations and connotations will be made to lead people to think which politicians might have had a part to play in the events cited in the IMPACS report. For many people, such revelations might be a positive; for others, it might redound to just cheap party politics.
The essential case I’m trying to make here is that even as politicians beat their chests and declare they have evidence that can put right a wrong, that evidence somehow never reaches a court of law. Knowledge of that information always seems like a “Get out of jail free” card for the person holding the information over the other person’s head. We even go as far as spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on commissions of enquiry to establish “facts” that never result in prosecution. Wasted dollars, wasted time and pointless witch hunts.
While I will reiterate that the United States is a hypocrite on many levels, I must state that sometimes it takes external powers to intervene so that we solve our internal affairs. While the United States should not dictate how we run our domestic affairs, we need to recognize that placing so much emphasis and value on their travel visas, tourists, and training for our police officers would more than likely give that country’s authorities reasons for concern. In short, the United States might well be the hypocrite we must play hypocrite with to sustain our hypocrisy. If anything, they at least threw the ball to our Quarterback-in-Chief who must now play a safe game. They’re most likely expecting a touchdown sometime soon.
So keep your eyes and ears open and pick up on the subtle signs and messages coming from both major political parties on the IMPACS report. The side that has it might well drop a few lines or two in passing while the other side that doesn’t might engage in some high-stakes fishing expeditions. If you stick yourself in the midst of the back and forth of words, you must be able to piece the puzzle together, though. Something big will drop sooner or later because – if you asked me – a balloon can only contain so much pressure for a certain period of time.