HAS DPP GOT A TIGER BY THE TAIL?

GRYNBERG, IMPACS, 500 UN­RE­SOLVED HOMI­CIDES . . .

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Wayne

Why does stu­pid­ity rain so in­ces­santly on this rock of sages? Why are we so quick to rush to judg­ment—and just as quickly move on to the next episode of As the Stom­ach Churns? Not so long ago the po­lice ac­knowl­edged they had on their files close to 500 un­re­solved homi­cides. At the time of their oc­cur­rence, nor­mally placid hu­man hearts, the ma­jor­ity fe­male, had screamed to high heaven for jus­tice and un­speak­able vengeance. Many pub­licly de­manded the per­pe­tra­tors be made to suf­fer con­se­quences not per­mit­ted un­der our Con­sti­tu­tion—like be­ing shot at first sight by the po­lice or placed hogtied in vats of acid. The most pop­u­lar pun­ish­ment was of­fered in graphic kweyol over the air­waves: mac­er­ate the mis­cre­ant’s tes­ti­cles in a grinder.

A good num­ber of the pop­u­la­tion saw no need for ex­pen­sive tri­als and pos­si­ble ap­peals, which may well ex­plain why we’ve been com­fort­able all these years with a jus­tice sys­tem in name only. Dozens of mur­der sus­pects ar­rested in their teens and taken to Borde­lais are now well into mid­dle age, un­tried and quite pos­si­bly off their rock­ers.

Sev­eral weeks ago, at the height of Botham-ma­nia, a se­cu­rity guard was fa­tally shot on his way home from work. Around the same time a wo­man was dis­cov­ered stone-cold dead at the govern­ment print­ery. For two days at least, suit­ably out­raged sec­tions of the cit­i­zenry let their anony­mous voices be heard on Newsspin, then re­turned to busi­ness as usual. It turned out that the 58-year-old wo­man had died of nat­u­ral causes. As for the se­cu­rity guard, there have been no ar­rests, no vig­ils fea­tur­ing cus­tom­ized t-shirts, no fa­mil­iar speeches. In all events the man ap­par­ently has been for­got­ten, ditto his chil­dren and their mother—in much the same way as have those ear­lier men­tioned.

Never mind the rou­tine ca­coph­ony that im­me­di­ately fol­lowed her death an­nounce­ment and the now de rigueur vigil near her work­place that at­tracted even her Ha­ley’s Comet boss the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, chances are the fa­tal shoot­ing of Kim­berly De Leon will be buried with the ear­lier men­tioned po­lice list of 500 icecold cases—un­less our gen­eral at­ti­tude to crime un­der­goes an abrupt sea change.

Last Satur­day, I pub­lished in this news­pa­per a state­ment de­liv­ered two days ear­lier at the start of my weekly DBSTV show, TALK. I took the pre­cau­tion of un­der­scor­ing the ob­vi­ous: that noth­ing in my state­ment was meant to im­ply in­no­cence or guilt. Rather, I had taken the time to ex­plore most of what had been said about the shoot­ing by the po­lice and the lo­cal me­dia and fur­ther dis­sem­i­nated by the any­thing goes so­cial me­dia to its un­ques­tion­ing in­sa­tiable flock. I pro­vided ev­i­dence sup­port­ive of what I said, much of it in con­flict with the ear­lier ver­sions, of­fi­cial and oth­er­wise.

To date there have been no chal­lenges to what I wrote or spoke. I had taken the op­por­tu­nity to sug­gest DPP per­son­nel ad­vise the po­lice in ad­vance of press meet­ings, es­pe­cially when re­lated to in­ci­dents in­volv­ing one of their own, as in the case of Kim­berly De Leon whose hus­band is a po­lice of­fi­cer. And no or­di­nary po­lice of­fi­cer at that. I hope I did not speak to deaf ears.

Con­sid­er­ing the count­less ten­ta­cles of the par­tic­u­lar oc­to­pus un­der dis­cus­sion, I also ad­vised that the De Leon in­ves­ti­ga­tion not be con­ducted solely by the lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers, for their own sake. The cred­i­bil­ity, per­haps through no fault of their own, has never been lower. The re­ac­tion to my pub­lished state­ment was no sur­prise. Some con­cluded that I was sid­ing with the de­clared per­son of in­ter­est, Sergeant De Leon; that I had handed him the per­fect al­ibi. Oth­ers im­plied I had been mis­led—or bought. Oh, and there were those who in­sisted that Kim­berly was the vic­tim of a paid as­sas­sin. There has been no fur­ther word from the po­lice and no indi­ca­tion what­so­ever as to their next move. Con­ceiv­ably, they will have more to say when a sus­pect has been ap­pre­hended and charged.

Mean­while calls for the govern­ment to im­port per­son­nel to in­ves­ti­gate the No­vem­ber 29 homi­cide are at best pre­ma­ture. That the po­lice have de­clared Kim­berly’s hus­band “a per­son of in­ter­est” sug­gests only that at this time they have no ev­i­dence sup­port­ive of their sus­pi­cions. Con­ceiv­ably he would not still be re­sid­ing at the home he shared un­til re­cently with Kim­berly and their two young off­spring, to say the least.

Kim­berly De Leon, a mother of two, and the wife of a po­lice of­fi­cer, was shot to death at her Chef Harry Drive res­i­dence on No­vem­ber 29. Her rel­a­tives and friends are de­ter­mined to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to bring her killer to jus­tice.

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