THE misery which has visited the government of Saint Lucia and its leader since the U.S. was made aware of a ‘Police List’ – called a ‘Hit List’ by some, of persons to be eliminated by local police – tightens like a noose around the government’s neck. There seems to be no end to the challenge ever since the U.S. made it known that it expects those responsible for the demise of ‘the listed’ to be prosecuted, allowing justice to fairly prevail. It leads the knowing to recall: ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive….’
The withdrawal of U.S. visas and the cessation of funding for training of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) were early warning signals that the noose would be tightening. The U.S. has been waiting patiently for the government of Saint Lucia to act. But the deceitful has blundered, entangling itself in a web of deceit and misinformation. Now it knows not where to turn as the noose tightens around the neck that holds the deceitful head.
Whilst the U.S. waits patiently for those responsible for the functioning of the local criminal justice system to act, the European Community (E.U.) which has recently funded a major new hospital on the island has added its voice to the apparent injustice of the justice system, setting its own noose in relation to the infamous IMPACS report. The EU..has been a friend that has supported the island’s agriculture specifically its banana industry and its (rural), feeder roads.
In a very pointed press release issued earlier this month, the EU has made it clear that ‘Law and Order’ and the proper and professional functioning of the Criminal Justice System in Saint Lucia is as much concern to it as the other aspects of social, economic and political development. The release pointedly referred to the Euro 44,000,000.00 (forty-four million Euros), it sets aside to assist developing countries strengthen their legal and criminal justice systems, including refurbishing and modernizing offices for the justice departments.
What one finds particularly striking about that E.U. press release is its clarity and straight forward language. It bears an undisguised note of stridency, which leaves no room for misinterpretation. It is a clear warning that, if the government of Saint Lucia does not act on the IMPACS report, the island stands to suffer from further E.U. assistance. Put more bluntly, the new E.U. funded hospital may not open any time soon.
The release from the E.U. coming on top of the U.S statement (and action), is most alarming when viewed against the intransigence of a government which refuses to speak simply and clearly on the material findings of the IMPACS report. The government can maintain its calculated silence and obfuscation but for how long will it allow the police service to remain in a state of uncertainty. To avoid sharing the findings of IMPACS is a dereliction of the duty that the government swore on oath to uphold, when it took office in November 2011. The deliberate silence and side stepping of crucial issues leaves those with a modicum of common sense to conclude that there is more in the mortar than the pestle.
Such conduct begs the question: What is the government hiding, and why? At the time of the alleged ‘listed killings’ citizens feared for their lives as criminals terrorized and disrespected property, people and place. No one felt safe! The entire island lay under a cloud of fear and tension expecting the worst at any moment. The police were forced to serve and protect, especially law abiding citizens who had done no wrong. These people went peacefully about their business worshiping their God as they saw fit. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the police finally acted.
At the time no one, with the exception of the well researched and loquacious Star newspaper, ever pointed a finger at the reckless SLP opposition for fomenting unrest and unease in the country. Viewed from the vantage of history one is persuaded that criminals tend to use the climate of constant political agitation and manufactured uncertainty created by the SLP in opposition. Agitation is what the SLP does best! In government they behave like an opposition. It betrays a mindset of those who lack the self confidence to acquire the ‘Master’s Mansion’ without trashing it.
But this constant agitation and bluster in government cannot fool experienced technicians and politicians from the U.S and E.U. Experience has taught these two peoples that proper functioning of a justice system is indispensible to the social and economic progress of a country. Hence the reason they are anxious to assist governments seeking social and economic progress through the rule of law. It explains why the E.U. has finally added its very influential voice to that of their American counterpart. That E.U. press release effectively tightens the noose around the collective necks of the government of Saint Lucia and demands that it acts, or else…
The U.S and the E.U may also be paying close attention to the way in which the official opposition has handled the IMPACS report. For example, did the opposition consider it a duty to raise questions in Parliament about IMPACS? Has the official opposition commented publicly on the manner in which the laws of Saint Lucia were amended in order to allow foreign policemen to investigate the local police? Does the opposition have information about the genesis of the IMPACS investigators? Was the IMPACS report made available to Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition? Does the constitution provide for consultations for the good governance of the island?
The bottom line is that citizens need to know what exactly is contained in that IMPACS report. This is not the private property of any government or Minister of National Security, or other. Perhaps the noose that now tightens around their necks will finally force them, under threat of strangulation and death, to finally speak the truth to the people about IMPACS. Perhaps the opposition also needs to speak more loudly on the harm which IMPACS has caused. The noose which tightens around the government’s neck should spell relief for the suffering people of this island. The opposition should help the U.S. and E.U. strangle the deceitful and abusive SLP hypocrites in office.