French Navy Rains on Kenny’s Pa­rade!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By STAR Reporter

On Thurs­day Jan­uary 14, 2016 three Am­bas­sadors rep­re­sent­ing the 28 mem­ber states of the EU con­vened an un­prece­dented press con­fer­ence here, to dis­cuss a meet­ing with the prime min­is­ter in re­la­tion to IMPACS. While the di­plo­mats were typ­i­cally tight-lipped, they nev­er­the­less let out that they had given the prime min­is­ter a 3-month dead­line to put in place a new po­lice com­mis­sioner and a func­tion­ing DPP’s of­fice (which even now re­mains se­ri­ously un­der­staffed with no re­lief in sight!), among other things, so as to fa­cil­i­tate “due process.” More than once the di­plo­mats had de­scribed the is­land’s jus­tice sys­tem as “bro­ken.”

The del­e­ga­tion com­prised Mikael Bar­fod, Am­bas­sador/ Head of EU Del­e­ga­tion based in Bar­ba­dos, Vic­to­ria Dean, Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner based in Bar­ba­dos and Eric de La Mous­saye, Am­bas­sador of France (based in Saint Lu­cia). At the Jan­uary press con­fer­ence Am­bas­sador de La Mous­saye told re­porters that even with­out IMPACS Saint Lu­cia’s jus­tice sys­tem was a mat­ter of con­cern.

“I have had many meet­ings with the prime min­is­ter and with the min­is­ter of home affairs and jus­tice,” he added. “My pres­i­dent has had meet­ings in France with the prime min­is­ter. The is­sue is a prob­lem not only for the French. I think that if we suc­ceed on be­half of our French cit­i­zens we will suc­ceed for oth­ers who are for many years in prison.”

One French ci­ti­zen named Eric Som­mier has been in­car­cer­ated here with­out trial for more than four years fol­low­ing a boat­ing in­ci­dent. The French am­bas­sador said at the press con­fer­ence that his govern­ment could “no longer sit idly by and do noth­ing.”

On Thurs­day TALK host Rick Wayne re­vealed he had been re­li­ably in­formed that the crew of the French frigate “Ven­tose” would not be par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions. It has been com­mon for French mil­i­tary ves­sels and per­son­nel to par­tic­i­pate in the In­de­pen­dence pa­rade and other ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing foot­ball. Ac­cord­ing to Wayne the French have boy­cotted this year’s event in protest against the treat­ment of some six fel­low cit­i­zens in­clud­ing Som­mier. The frigate Ven­tose will in­stead be in St. Kitts. Ac­cord­ing to ZIZ News, St. Kitts, the Ven­tose will make a call to St. Kitts and Nevis be­tween 19 and 23rd Fe­bru­ary 2016. “This call is an in­di­ca­tion of the re­gard which the French govern­ment shows to friend­ship and co-op­er­a­tion with the au­thor­i­ties of St. Kitts, de­spite bud­getary con­straints which limit the in­crease in th­ese types of op­er­a­tions,” the re­port says.

As we go to press we have been re­li­ably in­formed that the EU may have al­ready have im­posed its own sanc­tions against the govern­ment. More­over, that fol­low­ing a Septem­ber meet­ing with U.S. of­fi­cials, the Tai­wanese govern­ment has de­cided to re­con­sider eco­nomic as­sis­tance to Saint Lu­cia. The United States, mean­while, is ex­pected to turn its own sanc­tions screws even tighter fol­low­ing the prime min­is­ter’s New Year Mes­sage that he had hired two Wash­ing­ton law firms to lobby the State Depart­ment in­stead of keep­ing his pledge to place the IMPACS re­port be­fore the courts.

At press time we were also in­formed by a trusted source that a French colonel, Damien Vau­thrin, will at­tend at least one of the In­de­pen­dence ac­tiv­i­ties.

French Navy frigate Ven­tose heads to St. Kitts in­stead of par­tic­i­pat­ing in

Saint Lu­cia’s In­de­pen­dence ac­tiv­i­ties.

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