A-Mus­ings

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of th­ese ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

It must be true – it’s in the pa­pers!

The trou­ble with rev­e­la­tions is that things are re­vealed for the whole world to know. This ar­ti­cle from The Guardian, March 16 2015, is re­pro­duced in its en­tirety and tells the whole world what St Lucia is like.

Ateam of in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tors is al­leg­ing that St. Lucia's po­lice force main­tained “death lists” of peo­ple deemed to be crim­i­nals and planted guns at the scenes of po­lice shoot­ings to le­git­imise their un­law­ful ac­tions, the Caribbean coun­try's leader has an­nounced. In a na­tional ad­dress late on Sun­day, the prime min­is­ter, Kenny An­thony, said a team of Ja­maican in­ves­ti­ga­tors had de­liv­ered an “ex­tremely damn­ing” re­port look­ing at the deaths of 12 peo­ple fa­tally shot by po­lice in 2010 and 2011, while an­other ad­min­is­tra­tion was in power. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force were in­vited by St Lucia's gov­ern­ment a year af­ter the US with­drew all as­sis­tance to is­land po­lice cit­ing con­cerns about al­le­ga­tions of un­law­ful killings.

Quot­ing from the re­port, which was not made pub­lic, An­thony said in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that all the shoot­ings re­viewed were “staged by the po­lice” but re­ported pub­licly as homi­cides by un­known as­sailants. Guns were al­legedly planted by of­fi­cers, and mem­bers of the po­lice high com­mand may have been in­volved in cov­er­ing up the truth about the long-ru­moured ex­tra­ju­di­cial shoot­ings. “The re­port con­firms that ‘the black­list or death lists' ref­er­enced by the me­dia, hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions, vic­tims' fam­i­lies and cit­i­zens alike did ex­ist,” An­thony said. Cameron Laure, pres­i­dent of the Po­lice Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion in St Lucia, said he was re­ceiv­ing phone calls from “many po­lice of­fi­cers” about the de­tails dis­closed by the prime min­is­ter. “I don't even know how to re­act at this point. I will have to meet with the com­mis­sioner of po­lice as well as the other mem­bers first be­fore making a full state­ment,” he said.

Al­leged tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence did not just hap­pen at scenes of po­licere­lated fa­tal­i­ties, An­thony said. Dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­closed that the server used by some po­lice com­man­ders was “de­lib­er­ately tam­pered with.” The dozen killings occurred dur­ing a se­cu­rity ini­tia­tive called Op­er­a­tion Re­store Con­fi­dence as the tourism-de­pen­dent is­land grap­pled with a wor­ry­ing rise in vi­o­lent crime. At the time, for­mer prime min­is­ter Stephenson King pub­licly warned crim­i­nals that “no stone will be left un­turned and there will be no hid­ing place for any­one”. Dur­ing the pe­riod un­der re­view, five of the dozen men fa­tally shot by po­lice were killed in a sin­gle op­er­a­tion in the southern town of Vieux Fort. In its most re­cent an­nual re­port on the is­land, the US State Depart­ment com­plained of the “lim­ited progress” of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the deadly po­lice shoot­ings. In 2012, lo­cal in­quests con­cluded that six of the 12 shoot­ings were jus­ti­fied. But the US im­posed its sanc­tions the fol­low­ing year, in­di­cat­ing it did not have con­fi­dence in the out­comes of the in­quests. An­thony said the in­ves­ti­ga­tors made 31 rec­om­men­da­tions in their re­port, the main one be­ing pros­e­cu­tions for “all po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved in the un­law­ful killings of cit­i­zens” that they re­viewed. The prime min­is­ter said the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor must now de­ter­mine whether to pursue cases against the of­fi­cers. An­thony said he would not or­der that sus­pected po­lice of­fi­cers be­hind the al­leged un­law­ful killings “be charged or dis­missed or of­fered pack­ages to re­tire”. But he said the gov­ern­ment would now en­sure that po­lice re­cruits re­ceived train­ing in hu­man rights and spe­cial pros­e­cu­tors would be ap­pointed to as­sist with any fu­ture pros­e­cu­tions of of­fi­cers, among other changes.”

I feel gen­uinely sorry for the PM. He is more and more a man of con­tra­dic­tions. My imag­i­na­tion tells me that Kenny might have re­ported the death lists to the Amer­i­cans, while Tony now has to deal with the fallout. Kenny per­haps at­tempted to blacken the rep­u­ta­tion of the UWP, now Tony is fac­ing the wrath of Amer­ica. Kenny de­cided to go pub­lic with his ex­clu­sive in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the se­cret re­port, while Tony now has to fum­ble for an­swers to an irate, dis­il­lu­sioned, de­mor­al­ized po­lice force. Kenny, per­haps un­wit­tingly, gave the Bri­tish press a juicy tale of po­lice cor­rup­tion, now Tony has to deal with St. Lucia's neg­a­tive world­wide press. Kenny turned to Ja­maica, not a coun­try with an un­sul­lied po­lice rep­u­ta­tion, to seek in­ves­ti­ga­tors, while Tony main­tains that Lu­cians do not need out­side help. Kenny de­clared that he would not or­der of­fi­cers be­hind the al­leged un­law­ful killings to “be charged”, while Tony si­mul­ta­ne­ously – and rather oddly – pro­claimed that the “pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor must now de­ter­mine whether to pursue cases against the of­fi­cers.”

If it were in­deed in Kenny's power to or­der that of­fi­cers “be charged or dis­missed or of­fered pack­ages to re­tire”, which I doubt, why did Tony not act? And why was the DPP, just back from leave and about to go on pre-re­tire­ment leave find her­self at­tacked, vil­i­fied and faced with a re­port she finds al­most de­void of hard ev­i­dence? And how can Kenny ex­pect so much from a DPP's of­fice that Tony does not sup­port with more re­sources? I tell you, life's a bug­ger some­times. Even Janus would not know which way to turn.

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