The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rankin Kop­per (not au­thor’s real name)

Hav­ing been left dumb­founded and off bal­ance by the prime min­is­ter’s ad­dress to the na­tion on 8 March, 2015, I ac­quired a copy for more metic­u­lous anal­y­sis. I also en­gaged in some re­search, the bet­ter to de­ter­mine its in­tegrity. Fi­nally I formed the im­pres­sion the speech had been put to­gether only for self­ish rea­sons, with lit­tle con­sid­er­a­tion for the RSLPF’s cur­rent predica­ment and the con­se­quences on the peo­ple we seek to serve. (Yes, I am a proud and ded­i­cated po­lice of­fi­cer—ob­vi­ously in cam­ou­flage—ab­so­lutely out­raged by the hor­ri­ble wrong that has been done the force.)

The prime min­is­ter started out by pro­vid­ing what he claimed was the back­ground to what had brought the force to its present po­si­tion. He re­minded lis­ten­ers of the vi­o­lent crime wave that had swept Saint Lu­cia be­tween 2008 and 2010 and had im­posed unof­fi­cial cur­fews on the fright­ened pop­u­la­tion In my view, this was the only part of the prime min­is­ter’s ad­dress that came close to truth.

But then I smelled some­thing rot­ten in the state of Den­mark when it seemed Dr. An­thony’s main pur­pose was to lay blame on the for­mer UWP ad­min­is­tra­tion for the crime wave—a clear in­di­ca­tion that I was watch­ing and lis­ten­ing to a man pos­sessed, not a con­cerned leader de­ter­mined to make things right for those who had placed their faith in his lead­er­ship. His sole pre­oc­cu­pa­tion, it seemed to me, was to paint in de­press­ing colours the years be­fore his party re­turned to of­fice for a third term, and to ab­solve him­self per­son­ally of any blame for the mess that over­whelms our coun­try, in­clud­ing the harm done our once mu­tu­ally re­ward­ing re­la­tion­ship with the US Gov­ern­ment.

Very early in his tele­vised speech, the PM mis­rep­re­sented his pre­de­ces­sor when he claimed the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Stephen­son King had stated: “There will be no refuge, no stone will be left un­turned; there will be no hid­ing place for any­one.”

Dr. An­thony seemed to have for­got­ten that in an ad­dress on 20 Au­gust, 2013 he had quoted Mr. King as say­ing, while re­fer­ring to uniden­ti­fied crim­i­nal sus­pects,“They will be hunted down, they will be found, they will be pros­e­cuted, they will be judged and will be made to pay for their crimes against our peace-lov­ing and law-abid­ing peo­ple.” The last quoted state­ment is in per­fect har­mony with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

But on 8 March, 2015 Dr. An­thony ei­ther suf­fered a mem­ory lapse or he cal­cu­lat­edly edited Mr. King’s speech to suit his pur­pose of black­en­ing the for­mer prime min­is­ter’s record. I formed the im­pres­sion that the PM’s pur­pose was to mis­lead the na­tion into be­liev­ing some mem­bers of the UWP gov­ern­ment had, with oth­ers, planned and ex­e­cuted sev­eral ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings. Even the most prej­u­diced among us will agree that such words as “pros­e­cuted” and “judged” are not re­lated to ex­tra-ju­di­cial pros­e­cu­tions. The quoted words were de­liv­ered on TV and else­where; the speech con­tain­ing them is easily ac­ces­si­ble. The av­er­age Saint Lu­cian is in­tel­li­gent enough to have seen through the veil of sub­terfuge.

At this junc­ture, it is im­por­tant to point out my per­sonal dis­ap­point­ment with Stephen­son King’s re­ac­tion to the mu­ti­la­tion of his ad­dress. A cou­ple of days later the media sought a re­ac­tion from Mr. King but all he chose to say was, “I never gave the po­lice in­struc­tions to shoot and kill. No PM does that.”

I ex­pected him to set the record straight, on his own be­half and on the be­half of the po­lice. In­stead he of­fered a re­sponse not short of dotish. It was a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment to his sup­port­ers that King failed to chas­tise Prime Min­is­ter An­thony for mis­quot­ing him.

Let us now turn to the heart of the prime min­is­ter’s ad­dress: The IMPACS Re­port. Un­der the sec­tion “back­ground” Prime Min­is­ter An­thony stated another false­hood that re­quires re­but­ting in the strong­est pos­si­ble way: the for­mer PM King had no in­put in the for­ma­tion of the “spe­cial po­lice task force” so of­ten men­tioned by the cur­rent prime min­is­ter in his IMPACS ad­dress. Op­er­a­tion Re­store Con­fi­dence and all it com­prised was strictly a po­lice ini­tia­tive, as was Op­er­a­tion Re­store Peace in 1998, soon af­ter Dr. An­thony first took of­fice.

Con­trary to what Dr. An­thony said on TV, the spe­cial task force as­so­ci­ated with Op­er­a­tion Re­store Con­fi­dence was not “im­me­di­ately placed un­der the com­mand of deputy com­mis­sioner Moses Charles.” Do your re­search, sir, and you will dis­cover that be­fore Moses Charles some­one else was in charge. Be­ware the po­lice snitches, dear prime min­is­ter, that have been feed­ing you false­hoods, for self­ish pur­pose. As you stated in your ad­dress, this whole IMPACS mat­ter has en­cour­aged po­lice of­fi­cers against one another in the name of per­sonal sur­vival. Some who pre­tended to have first-hand in­for­ma­tion couldn’t have been far­ther from the in­ci­dents they re­ported on.

Added the prime min­is­ter on TV: “These deaths at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the US, among oth­ers.” Who were the “oth­ers” at­tracted? Kenny? Tony? La Corbiniere? SLP op­er­a­tives? Crim­i­nals? The na­tion should also ask the PM to re­veal how and why the al­leged po­lice ex­e­cu­tions at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the US State Depart­ment and who were the providers of the so-called “cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion.”

It is ap­pro­pri­ate at this stage to re­mind read­ers of an item pub­lished by Saint Lu­cia News Online that cen­tered on a law­suit by Richard Fred­er­ick against the US Gov­ern­ment. In his suit Fred­er­ick claimed his US visa was re­voked fol­low­ing cer­tain al­le­ga­tions made to the US em­bassy in Bar­ba­dos. The ar­ti­cle iden­ti­fied one in­di­vid­ual, a for­mer rank­ing po­lice of­fi­cer. Re­mark­ably, the named po­lice of­fi­cer has never re­futed the sug­ges­tion that he, as well as SLP op­er­a­tives, had pro­vided the US with sup­pos­edly “damn­ing in­for­ma­tion.” The case went nowhere. Still you’d have ex­pected a re­ac­tion from the iden­ti­fied po­lice of­fi­cer or the take-no-pris­on­ers SLP pro­pa­ganda ma­chine. They re­main silent on this par­tic­u­lar mat­ter of public in­ter­est.

I dare to say, re­gard­less, that the peo­ple have a right to know quickly who is re­spon­si­ble for the cur­rent co­matose state of the RSLPF—a life and death sit­u­a­tion. The for­mer UWP ad­min­is­tra­tion? Snitches within the force? SLP op­er­a­tives? If only in this case, the truth is stranger than the fic­tion so far served the trust­ing peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia. Will there ever be full dis­clo­sure? Will the false wit­nesses who cre­ated this chaos be re­warded hid­ing places? And what about the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors of the much talked of “gross vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights . . . the po­lice of­fi­cers, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, politi­cians and busi­ness­men,” to quote the prime min­is­ter?

On the evening of his ad­dress the PM re­minded view­ers that Saint Lu­cia is gov­erned by a Con­sti­tu­tion, the supreme law of the land. There­fore, did we need the US State Depart­ment to di­rect our course of ac­tion fol­low­ing sev­eral deaths by un­nat­u­ral means?

Another dis­turb­ing mat­ter for me was the prime min­is­ter’s rev­e­la­tion that the Saint Lu­cia po­lice force was un­able to pur­chase am­mu­ni­tion for its Amer­i­can-made weapons, another con­se­quence of the al­leged gross vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights. This is another fab­ri­ca­tion. There was never a time when the RSLPF at­tempted to pur­chase am­mu­ni­tion from the US and was turned away. But even if the prime min­is­ter’s story were true, how re­spon­si­ble was his de­ci­sion to broad­cast such dan­ger­ous in­for­ma­tion to our crim­i­nal pop­u­la­tion?

As for Saint Lu­cia be­ing a mem­ber of such re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tions as OECS, CARICOM and RSS, I ask: To what avail? None has shown any con­cern, nor stood in sol­i­dar­ity with the RSLPF. Re­cently, there were calls— in­clud­ing sev­eral from Saint Lu­cia—for CARICOM coun­tries to rally around Venezuela dur­ing its im­passe with the US. But no such call has been made to ben­e­fit Saint Lu­cia.

This is yet another ex­am­ple of how we al­low our­selves to be duped by sim­i­larly minded politi­cians and their ghost in­te­gra­tion move­ments. The fact of the mat­ter is that the dog-eat-dog, cut-throat cul­ture per­pet­u­ated by our lead­ers is killing the Caribbean. Killing all of us, re­gard­less of party af­fil­i­a­tion, re­gard­less of oc­cu­pa­tion. Caribbean politi­cians should ap­pre­ci­ate that in this era of ter­ror­ism the US needs the Caribbean more than we need the US.

It is be­yond my un­der­stand­ing that other RSS and CARICOM coun­tries are par­tic­i­pat­ing as usual in US­funded train­ing pro­grammes while a sis­ter ter­ri­tory is left to fend for it­self. It’s al­most as if ev­ery­one has turned their backs on us, hung us out to dry, as they say. They should in­stead be stand­ing by the RSLPF, rather than en­cour­ag­ing the di­vide-and-rulers. To­day, Saint Lu­cia. Who knows for cer­tain who will be tar­geted for black­mail to­mor­row? Then again, with so many unan­swered ques­tions swirling around our gov­ern­ment’s head, per­haps our col­leagues in our sis­ter ter­ri­to­ries are at a loss how to re­act. As the say­ing goes, God helps those who help them­selves. The po­lice and the peo­ple have been badly be­trayed. But the ev­i­dence has been buried. It re­mains to be seen for how long!

PM Kenny An­thony in a con­tem­pla­tive mood.

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