IMPACS UNDER FAKE NEWS ATTACK!
Director of Public Prosecutions Daarsrean Greene: According to sources at his office the DPP wasted several precious hours on Wednesday putting to rest concerns at home and abroad about a fake-news publication that highranking members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force had been or were soon to be arrested on charges related to the infamous IMPACS Report. Said our source, among interested parties were officials of the U.S. State Department.
Fake news of the worst kind dominated the atmosphere in the days leading up to the government’s presentation of the 2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. Long before the debate got underway, government ministers were already battling a fierce tide of alternate facts. The first to speak out was National Security Minister Hermangild Francis, brother of Labour Party chairman and host of Claudius Francis.
At this week’s regular pre-cabinet briefing on Monday morning, the minister addressed on-air comments by his brother in relation to an online story that the government had identified “enemies of the state”, ostensibly by illegal monitoring.
“Although I didn’t hear my brother Claudius Francis,” said the minister, “it was brought to my attention that he asserted the government had put together a list of about 20 to 21 persons deemed to be enemies of the state. I was told he went further to say a foreign country had been given names and assistance requested in monitoring telephone conversations.”
Reading aloud a report by Caribbean News Now, the minister commented: “It states, according to our local sources, separately confirmed by contacts in the foreign intelligence services, attempts by the National Securities Minister and by the Cabinet itself to suppress criticism and dissent have now reached new levels with intercepted requests reportedly made to collaborators in Hong Kong and Canada for assistance in hacking the electronic communications of individuals deemed to be enemies of the state.”
The minister dismissed the report as totally false, that he was best placed to know whether or not it was valid.
“I’ve never been involved in it, and I want to state categorically that this is a falsehood,” he emphasized. “I want to say to my brother that if he has credible information [on the matter] he should contact my office, and I promise the matter will be investigated. If he does not have [credible information], then I am requesting he issue an apology—and shut up on that topic.”
Two days later online news sources were at it again. This time the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was the target. “The DPP in St Lucia has proposed to charge the former Police Commissioner, his then ACP, Head of Crimes and some nine other police officers with multiple counts of murder in reference to Operation Restore Confidence where it is alleged some 12 persons were killed by the RSLPF between 2011 and 2013. It is said that this was a special squad of heavily armed officers who reported directly to the COP via the ACP, as ordered by the former COP. The DPP and AG met with the PM earlier today where they informed NST.”
The DPP’s office has vehemently denied the report, which it describes as fake news of the worst kind. Investigations into the IMPACS matter are reportedly ongoing.
SLP chairman Cladius Francis (left) and National Security Minister Hermangild Francis.