Has the public perception that the Saint Lucia Labour Party administration is soft on crime come home to roost?
Lucia H Best
When the prime minister of Saint Lucia Dr. K.D. Anthony went on national television in March 2015 to deliver his long-awaited address on the findings of the IMPACS investigation into the conduct of the police during Operation Restore Confidence, the island was in the throes of enjoying for three months, a rare respite from homicides while generally reported crime stood at a low level. One would think the prime minister would have basked in the moment of calm and stability, along with the lawmen and citizens. Clearly the great doc had other plans to disturb the peace, as only he can. Apparently Dr. Anthony’s anatomy had been tingling and itching from months of having the IMPACS report in his possession. Amazingly he selected that strategic moment in time to drop the biggest bombshell of all upon the cops and the nation.
Apart from accusations and allegations of gross human rights violations, the address indicated that, in effect, the lawmen had acted dubiously, if not criminally, during the ORC exercise. Immediately the Police began to suffer the brunt of invective from the critique while suffering severe and untold damage to its image.
The national wheel ground to a halt in awe of the prime minister’s revelations that dirty cops planted weapons, etc. during ORC. That address seemed to strip the police of all professional integrity. It just may have bolstered the misconception of criminals that they can go bravely out there to perpetrate crime under the full protection of having their human rights defended by the prime minister himself.
By April 9, 2015 four men had been shot dead on Chaussee Road, Castries. Had the sleeping giant of criminality that Operation Restore Confidence had previously attempted to paralyse reared its ugly heard again? If so, was it because the criminalminded felt the police were now estranged from governmental support and therefore weakened in executing their mandate?
Fast forward to 2016 and that same individual who complained about Operation Restore Confidence is himself confronting a crime matrix of sexual offences and other serious crimes. As the leader of the country it is his turn to watch his people suffer nameless horrors under his watch. The nation is reeling from a shocking spate of rapes and other sexual offences. Now the public has heard the prime minister call on the police to work to stem this scourge of criminal acts.
Does the new top cop, Severin Monchery, have the full backing and cooperation of the government to get tough on crime?