It’s over a week since Police Commissioner Severin Monchery resumed his position as top cop in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force after an eight-month absence.
During his absence, which was due to accumulated vacation leave, violent crime did not slow down, going on its merry way to conduct death and destruction in the country, to the point where Saint Lucia has racked up 34 homicides so far this year with the last four or so happening days apart.
We take no pleasure in recording such numbers or in outlining such grim details, however, we find it necessary to do so simply to highlight the gravity of the situation Monchery will be facing as he settles down in a chair he vacated in January of this year.
Monchery, since his return, has not been silent, repeating the same old rhetoric most police officers who take over the top cop position do, speaking about improving the morale of police officers, restoring public confidence within the police department, reviewing the crime-fighting strategy of the police force, etc.
However, there is this comment made by Monchery to LoopNews St. Lucia that is worth repeating here. According to Moncherry “I will continue with whatever plans that are there, I will have to review our strategic plans (and) our policies to ensure that we are able to serve members of the public effectively and efficiently.”
We touched earlier on the death, fear, injury some Saint Lucians endured in Monchery’s absence from the police force. This is in no way an indication on our part to show any weakness on the part of whoever acted in the top cop position in Monchery’s absence. There are unquestionably successes worthy of mention during Monchery’s eight-month hiatus. We bring this up merely to agree with Monchery that perhaps this may be the right time to review the strategy under which the police department has been operating for the past eight months.
Crime, violent and otherwise, is a critical issue in Saint Lucia today. Some people may say it has always been a critical issue, one which succeeding governments seem to have the answers to only when they are in opposition and totally clueless to stem its flow once they are in power.
While this may or may not be the case, we believe that Monchery is at least on the right track when he spoke of reviewing today’s crime fighting strategy. We give him our support in that regard as such an exercise could only redound to an improvement in our personal safety and general security.
Boosting the morale and motivation of the men and women under his command is also of vital importance, so too is the restoration of public confidence in the police.
We welcome Monchery back at the helm of the police force. The task ahead of him may not be insurmountable, but the challenges he will face, not only from the known criminals but also persons with selfish agendas will test both his resolve and ingenuity. We believe, however, that the veteran police officer, with 35 years of service under his belt, is quite capable of leading the men and women under his command into becoming the law enforcement unit the country will be proud of before he demits office due to retirement in less than a year.