The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - ---RW

By the sound in the streets of Cas­tries, all eyes will be glued to their TV sets to­mor­row evening, all ears to their ra­dios. In­deed, overseas­based Saint Lu­cians are equally cu­ri­ous about the im­me­di­ate fu­ture of the lo­cal po­lice force, based as it is on the promised rev­e­la­tions of the IMPACS re­port .

No doubt the na­tion will hear what were the terms of ref­er­ence given the Ja­maican in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Also, dis­com­bob­u­lat­ing ref­er­ences to sug­ges­tions in the prime min­is­ter’s “An Un­happy Episode” ad­dress on Au­gust 20, 2013—in par­tic­u­lar, the fol­low­ing:

“The cur­rent events have their ori­gin in the twelve in­di­vid­u­als who were shot and killed by po­lice of­fi­cers be­tween 2010 and 2011, dur­ing the ten­ure of the gov­ern­ment of the United Work­ers Party.”

As if to un­der­score his mean­ing, the prime min­is­ter added: “Those killings oc­curred af­ter the for­mer gov­ern­ment launched what was then de­scribed in the me­dia and else­where as Op­er­a­tion Re­store Con­fi­dence.”

The prime min­is­ter also re­vealed that while in op­po­si­tion he had seen “a hit list of tar­geted per­sons deemed crim­i­nals . . . In the af­ter­math of Op­er­a­tion Re­store Con­fi­dence some twelve per­sons met their deaths.”

He said the is­sue of twelve sus­pected ex­tra-ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions had at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the United States and led to State Depart­ment ac­tions against the lo­cal force.

“From its in­cep­tion,” said the prime min­is­ter nearly two years ago, his gov­ern­ment had “un­der­stood the se­ri­ous­ness of this mat­ter and its im­pli­ca­tions for the po­lice force—and in­deed the for­mer po­lit­i­cal di­rec­torate.” He did not say how his pre­de­ces­sor was in­volved, how­ever.

He em­pha­sized his gov­ern­ment’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica’s as­sis­tance in fight­ing lo­cal crime: “Saint Lu­cia val­ues its close co­op­er­a­tion with the United States in se­cu­rity mat­ters be­cause with­out this un­der­stand­ing and co­op­er­a­tion our bor­ders can never be se­cure.”

Again the prime min­is­ter seemed to en­gage in fin­ger point­ing at his pre­de­ces­sors: “We now reap the har­vest of rash de­ci­sions—par­tic­u­larly by pol­icy mak­ers anx­ious to gain quick res­o­lu­tions.”

Con­ceiv­ably the IMPACS in­ves­ti­ga­tors will iden­tify what were the re­lated rash de­ci­sions that had led to the deaths of twelve in­di­vid­u­als and how pol­icy mak­ers had sought to gain quick res­o­lu­tions.

Re­port­edly, the po­lice com­mis­sioner Ver­non Fran­cois is on va­ca­tion leave. His pre­de­ces­sor Aus­bert Regis was re­cently in­ter­viewed by the prime min­is­ter’s press sec­re­tary, in re­la­tion to the lat­est crime fig­ures.

Re­fer­ring di­rectly to IMPACS, Regis said “there will be neg­a­tive fall­out for the po­lice but the gov­ern­ment must find the courage to do what it has to do. Oth­er­wise, they might as well close shop.”

The prime min­is­ter has twice post­poned of­fi­cial com­ment on the IMPACS re­port and there has been no word about its re­lease for public con­sump­tion!

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