Emand for due wing IMPACS!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

wrig­gled out of the mephitic muck our prime min­is­ter ca­su­ally dumped on view­ers of last Fri­day’s among them: Who’s really in de­nial? The cops or their self-ap­pointed shrink—also the na­tion’s chief law maker? It cer­tainly has not been easy keep­ing up with our chameleonic prime min­is­ter, es­pe­cially when ad­dress­ing the IMPACS in­ves­ti­ga­tion of twelve par­tic­u­lar shoot­ings by po­lice of­fi­cers be­tween 2010 and 2011. At dif­fer­ent times the prime min­is­ter—who fa­mously claimed to have seen dur­ing his 2011 elec­tion cam­paign a death list—has laid bur­den­some blame for the al­leged “ex­tra-ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions” on the shoul­ders of sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als, among them the early-re­tired po­lice com­mis­sioner Ver­non Fran­cois; an “ad hoc task force within the po­lice depart­ment;” the for­mer po­lit­i­cal direc­torate of Stephenson King.

At his most re­cent party con­ven­tion in Vieux Fort the prime min­is­ter added a new name to his ever-ex­pand­ing list of scape­goats: for­mer home af­fairs min­is­ter Guy May­ers. As ear­lier noted, the fin­ger­point­ing prime min­is­ter re­turned on Fri­day to the “po­lice-in-de­nial,” even as the na­tion awaits fur­ther news of the so-called IMPACS re­port, con­tro­ver­sially sub­mit­ted some ten months ago by the prime min­is­ter to the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions. Last week Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke left of­fice on 60 days pre-re­tire­ment va­ca­tion—but not be­fore re­veal­ing the re­port was some­thing of a souf­flé, puffed up with com­ment and as­sump­tions but al­to­gether bereft of ev­i­dence sup­port­ive of its “se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions.”

Ear­lier, that is to say, in ad­vance of his pass­ing over the IMPACS re­port, the prime min­is­ter had in­formed the na­tion via a tele­vised ad­dress that the find­ings of the in­ves­ti­ga­tors were damn­ing in the ex­treme; that the re­port re-con­firmed the ex­is­tence of a death list—a ru­mor he had first con­firmed dur­ing his party’s 2011 elec­tion cam­paign; that “alarm­ingly the in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­port all the shoot­ings re­viewed were fake en­coun­ters staged by the po­lice to le­git­imize their ac­tions . . . the weapons sup­pos­edly found on the scene of the al­leged ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings were from sources other than the vic­tims . . . weapons were planted at the scene of the shoot­ings . . . the crime prob­lem in Saint Lucia is fa­cil­i­tated by cor­rupt politi­cians, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, busi­ness per­sons and po­lice of­fi­cers . . . will­ful blind­ness ex­isted in re­spect of the com­mis­sioner of po­lice and par­tic­u­lar mem­bers of his lead­er­ship and man­age­ment team.”

The tele­vised ad­dress con­tain­ing the above-quoted rev­e­la­tions ends as fol­lows: “In the words of Lord Mans­field, once echoed by the Right Hon­or­able Al­lan Louisy: Let jus­tice be done though the heav­ens fall!” (The orig­i­nal Latin maxim Fiat justi­tia ruat

sig­ni­fies the be­lief that jus­tice must be re­al­ized re­gard­less of con­se­quences. Alas Lord Mans­field, like Prime Min­is­ter Al­lan Louisy, was him­self just an­other echo of Lu­cius Calpurnius Piso Caeson­i­nus—and, to be fair, had never claimed oth­er­wise!)

It has now emerged that while Saint Lu­cians have been wait­ing pas­sively to hear fol­low-up news about IMPACS, while re­port af­ter me­dia re­port has been un­der­scor­ing the dev­as­tat­ing fall-out from the gov­ern­ment-ini­ti­ated in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the po­lice, the Bar­ba­dos-based Euro­pean Union Del­e­ga­tion, via its am­bas­sadors through­out the re­gion, was keep­ing tabs on how the Saint Lucia gov­ern­ment was deal­ing with what the US State Depart­ment had de­scribed in its 2012 Town and Coun­try Re­port as “gross vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights by the po­lice.”

For some two years now the US gov­ern­ment has with­held all as­sis­tance to our cops, barred them from set­ting foot on US soil and from at­tend­ing US-spon­sored train­ing, whether in or out­side the re­gion. Not long ago some of­fi­cers who sought to visit the US were turned away at He­wanorra. On at least one oc­ca­sion the RSLPF was pre­vented from par­tic­i­pat­ing in a US-spon­sored ini­tia­tive right here on this Rock of Sages. Of course, Saint Lucia no longer ben­e­fits from the gen­eros­ity of the Leahy Law ar­range­ments.

Con­sid­er­ing his of­fice, Dr. An­thony had to have known on Fri­day when he con­ve­niently dis­missed the na­tion’s only se­cu­rity force as vic­tims of Self-De­nial Syn­drome (SDS?), that the Euro­pean Union was as ea­ger as the lo­cal cit­i­zenry to learn some­thing use­ful about the IMPACS re­port sub­mit­ted al­most a year ago to the DPP’s of­fice. Doubt­less, the EU’s am­bas­sadors are fully ac­quainted with the Ver­non Fran­cois saga, his will­ful blind­ness, his “vol­un­tary” early re­tire­ment, not to men­tion that re­cent pub­lic back and forth be­tween the DPP and the hous­ing min­is­ter, as­sisted by the ham-fisted and of­ten lock­jawed jus­tice min­is­ter.

The EU’s con­cern is clearly, not to say omi­nously, ex­pressed in the fol­low­ing press com­mu­niqué is­sued late Fri­day: “The Euro­pean Union Del­e­ga­tion is­sues the fol­low­ing state­ment in agree­ment with the EU Heads of Mis­sion re­spon­si­ble for St. Lucia, fol­low­ing their meet­ing in Bar­ba­dos on 1 De­cem­ber 2015: The EU re­it­er­ates its sup­port and strong com­mit­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of St. Lucia, rec­og­niz­ing the chal­lenges it faces as a small and vul­ner­a­ble is­land state. Sub­stan­tive sup­port has been pro­vided by the EU and its Mem­ber States in var­i­ous ar­eas, from health, trade, agri­cul­ture to in­fra­struc­ture, and much progress has been made.

“Suc­cess­ful growth and de­vel­op­ment in­clude ef­fec­tive le­gal sys­tems and crim­i­nal jus­tice. In this con­text, the pub­lic state­ment of 8 March 2015 by the Hon­or­able Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony on the IMPACS re­port is very im­por­tant. Fol­low­ing this state­ment, due process must be fol­lowed. With­out due process, there would be no ef­fec­tive crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

“The EU and its Mem­ber States call on those re­spon­si­ble to en­sure due process ac­cord­ing to the St. Lucia crim­i­nal law sys­tem. Ef­fec­tive ju­di­cial sys­tems are crit­i­cal for a coun­try’s Hu­man Rights record. With much progress achieved on other fronts, it would be re­gret­table if this is­sue would un­der­mine St. Lucia’s rep­u­ta­tion in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. It is in the full in­ter­est of all St. Lu­cians, and of EU visi­tors and in­vestors, to see this sit­u­a­tion move for­ward.

“The EU and its Mem­ber States stand ready to sup­port the coun­try’s en­deav­ors in this crit­i­cal area, in­clud­ing with as­sis­tance un­der the 11th EDF (Euro­pean De­vel­op­ment Fund) Re­gional In­dica­tive pro­gram, which has 44 mil­lion EUR as­signed to pro­grams fight­ing crime and se­cu­rity.”

Did Saint Lucia’s prime min­is­ter re­ceive the notso-diplo­matic EU di­rec­tive ahead of his party’s most re­cent con­ven­tion? Did he nev­er­the­less de­ter­mine to keep cov­er­ing him­self with white­wash at the ex­pense of oth­ers? What could he pos­si­bly have been think­ing last Fri­day when he de­clared the po­lice in­ca­pable of ac­cept­ing the truth of their wrong­do­ing? Was he seek­ing to make friends and in­flu­ence peo­ple at po­lice ex­pense? Or was last Fri­day’s TV ap­pear­ance merely an­other op­por­tu­nity to stick his mid­dle fin­ger in the EU’s face, in much the same way he had in the face of the US State Depart­ment—at great cost, as it has turned out, to the na­tion and its po­lice?

There has been no word from the prime min­is­ter, nei­ther are the rights of in­di­vid­u­als held for sev­eral years at Borde­lais with­out trial.

Mean­while, our politi­cians and their re­spec­tive hacks are pre­oc­cu­pied with prepa­ra­tions for im­mi­nent gen­eral elec­tions. The na­tion’s on-go­ing war with it­self has es­ca­lated. A lot will be rid­ing on how strongly the EU and mem­ber states be­lieve “ef­fec­tive ju­di­cial sys­tems are crit­i­cal for a coun­try’s Hu­man Rights record,” and how much they care about a coun­try that re­fuses to help it­self.

In all events it’s not easy imag­in­ing our prime min­is­ter in his sheep­herder cir­cum­stances pur­su­ing due process— es­pe­cially if such pur­suit car­ries with it the small­est risk of his fall­ing off his lofty perch!

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