Po­lice Deny Bur­gled Premises Housed Pass­ports

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - Clau­dia Elei­box

The Royal Saint Lu­cia Po­lice Force is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Christ­mas­time break-in at the Lamar Build­ing in Cas­tries. The build­ing houses the crim­i­nal ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, and the Vul­ner­a­ble Per­sons Unit. It is un­clear ex­actly when the break-in oc­curred. As as­sis­tant po­lice com­mis­sioner Wayne Charlery ex­plained this week: “We shut the build­ing on Mon­day 24. The bur­glary must have hap­pened be­tween then and Wed­nes­day.”

Ques­tioned about CCTV cam­eras at the premises, Charlery said to an­swer that would amount to shar­ing in­for­ma­tion that could hurt po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

It had been bruited about by anony­mous Face­book in­ves­ti­ga­tors that seventy-five pass­ports had been taken from the build­ing by the bur­glar or bur­glars. Charlery dis­missed the re­port as “to­tally er­ro­neous, not true at all”. He con­firmed that the rented space was used only as “an ex­ten­sion of­fice of the im­mi­gra­tion de­part­ment”. The po­lice in­di­cated that around $300 had been stolen but it had not yet been de­ter­mined whether any doc­u­ments may have been re­moved. “Pass­ports are not kept at this of­fice,” said Com­mis­sioner Sev­erin Monch­ery.

Charlery agreed se­cu­rity at the Lamar build­ing was ob­vi­ously in­ad­e­quate. He added: “Cer­tainly this is an em­bar­rass­ing in­ci­dent. These com­mer­cial en­ter­prises would not have ini­tially been con­structed struc­turally or ar­chi­tec­turally for top-notch se­cu­rity. So that poses a chal­lenge. When the po­lice ac­quire com­mer­cial spa­ces, they should be for­ti­fied to suit. But that costs money.”

Monch­ery added: “At the end of the day we are ten­ants and don’t have full con­trol of that build­ing. Even though we have some de­part­ments in that build­ing, there are other ten­ants. We do not have full con­trol of the en­tire build­ing.”

Monch­ery dis­missed the no­tion that the break-in was meant to teach the po­lice a les­son. He said, “We have to un­der­stand that these are not de­part­ments that are di­rectly un­der the con­trol of the po­lice. It would be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mat­ter if bur­glars were to break into a po­lice sta­tion. We need to look at the mo­tive. When the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been com­pleted, we will be bet­ter placed to give more defin­ing re­sponses.”

The po­lice say that there are “some very good leads". The bur­glary was re­ported over two weeks ago but to date no ar­rests. Charlery ap­pealed to the pub­lic to “just bear with us. We’re do­ing our best in our cir­cum­stances and will con­tinue to be up­front and trans­par­ent. We’ll of­fer up­dates when­ever there’s some­thing new to re­port."

Po­lice com­mis­sioner, Sev­erin Monch­ery said this week that al­though the RSLPF was a ten­ant at Lamar Build­ing, the force is not di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity. The build­ing was bur­glar­ized be­tween Christ­mas Eve and the fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day.

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