EU Ad­dresses IMPACS Res­o­lu­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Veron­ica Al­cide

De­pend­ing on whom you talk to, the cur­rent and pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions are to blame for IMPACS. While a jury may have the fi­nal an­swer, the in­dis­putable truth is that it was Kenny An­thony’s de­ci­sion in 2013 to ini­ti­ate an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deaths of twelve in­di­vid­u­als at the hands of the lo­cal po­lice— af­ter a coro­ner’s court had de­ter­mined the re­lated po­lice ac­tion was not un­law­ful.

Much of the re­port by a team of Ja­maican po­lice per­son­nel was read on TV by the for­mer prime min­is­ter, by all ac­counts be­fore the DPP’s of­fice had had the op­por­tu­nity to pe­ruse it. Shortly be­fore Vic­to­ria Charles-Em­manuel re­tired to take a new po­si­tion in a sis­ter is­land, the then DPP con­tro­ver­sially de­clared the re­port next to use­less from a pros­e­cu­to­rial per­spec­tive. Now it seems the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion has, since tak­ing of­fice, been qui­etly pur­su­ing the IMPACS mat­ter that has been at the cen­tre of a 2012 de­ci­sion by the US State De­part­ment and the EU to sus­pend all as­sis­tance to the Royal Saint Lu­cia Po­lice Force.

Re­cently, the DPP’s of­fice was the re­cip­i­ent of some US$100,000 from the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, whether or not un­der the ear­lier sus­pended ar­range­ments of the so-called Leahy law. Ear­lier the Jus­tice Min­is­ter had spo­ken of US as­sis­tance in set­ting up a lo­cal Bor­der Pa­trol Au­thor­ity, in­dica­tive of a com­bined ef­fort to keep drug and hu­man traf­fick­ers at bay. Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to re­li­able sources, the Chastanet gov­ern­ment has been re­port­ing to the EU on IMPACS-re­lated de­vel­op­ments. The cries of hu­man rights lawyer Mary Fran­cis on be­half of the rel­a­tives of the ear­lier cited twelve de­ceased ap­pear not to have fallen only on deaf ears.

Dur­ing a visit on Tues­day this week rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Union ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts at con­trol­ling the Sisyphean stone now gen­er­ally re­ferred to as IMPACS.

Said EU am­bas­sador Daniela Tra­macere, in re­sponse to a me­dia query: “We have been fol­low­ing very closely the de­vel­op­ments be­cause we have a strong in­ter­est in the gov­ern­ment’s fol­low-up on this very stress­ful and un­for­tu­nate event which took place. We are very happy to have re­ceived strong re­as­sur­ances that due process is tak­ing place. We have lis­tened very care­fully to the DPP and are look­ing for­ward to fur­ther de­vel­op­ments in the very near fu­ture. We are con­fi­dent the rec­om­men­da­tions [of the IMPACS Re­port] are be­ing fol­lowed. Of course the process is not com­plete. We came here also to see for our­selves what has been hap­pen­ing. We are sat­is­fied that mea­sures are be­ing taken and we look for­ward to the com­ple­tion of this process.”

Prime Min­is­ter Chastanet con­firmed much of what the am­bas­sador had revealed to me­dia per­son­nel. “There are 25 recom­men IMPACS Re­port,” he said, “and we have act of them.” Not only had a new DPP been ap he took of­fice, Chastanet said, but his offic also be­ing beefed up. He spoke of other re im­prove­ments to the lo­cal crime-fight­ing m one, the re-open­ing of the foren­sic lab at Ta for some three years been in­op­er­a­tive.

The ques­tion arises: Will Chastanet’s un­der the um­brella of “cor­rec­tive steps” hi by Kenny An­thony in his fa­mous 2013 addr na­tion? Will the ac­tions by the new gov­ern suf­fi­cient to per­suade the US gov­ern­ment soon his sanc­tions im­posed al­most five ye all that was heard in the cor­ri­dors of powe the prime min­is­ter’s top-level meet­ing this seems to be a new light, how­ever small, at IMPACS tun­nel. No doubt the vast ma­jor­ity mem­ber­ship will be pleased. Pre­sum­ably, Fran­cis and her long-suf­fer­ing clients!

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