Can Frances Henry Be Gagged?

Once she was practically the voice of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. No more. Just about the time the nation first heard from its prime minister on the monster now commonly referred to as IMPACS, the previously imposing image of Assistant Police Commissioner Frances Henry vanished from our TV screens and our streets. Official references to her activities abruptly ceased. She was no longer seen on police parades.

It turned out Henry had taken long leave, as had leading officers before her—former commissioner Vernon Francois, for example—when perhaps coincidentally their names had been associated with less than flattering episodes. The difference was that the APC did return to work, albeit inconspicuously. As they say, those who knew, knew. The majority continued to believe we had seen the last of Henry in police khakis, albeit regretfully.

Once upon a time she was tipped to be Saint Lucia’s first female police commissioner. Today those close to Assistant Commissioner Frances Henry say she is being scapegoated by the IMPACS mechanics!

Once upon a time she was tipped to be Saint Lucia’s first female police commissioner. Today those close to Assistant Commissioner Frances Henry say she is being scapegoated by the IMPACS mechanics!

The old Henry would’ve convened a press conference hours after the rapes in Derek Walcott Square, not left it to a corporal to address the incident via a phone call to Newsspin’s Timothy Poleon. Count on it, the pre-2013 Henry would have commented on the evident lack of a police presence at the square that might’ve deterred the still to be arrested perpetrators. She would not have addressed the horror in the voice of a handicapped social worker.

In all events, there could hardly have been many among Thursday evening’s TALK audience who anticipated hearing the unmistakable voice of Assistant Police Commissioner Frances Henry as she identified herself to the show’s host. Even more shocking was that her call had nothing to do with the earlier cited rape. Indeed, it seemed she was more concerned with dropped hints about her role in Operation Restore Confidence—although she did not actually say so.

What she did say was that she was open to a no-holds-barred interview if I was interested in filling certain blanks. I presumed she referred to the many rumors that suggested she had been sidelined, as Vernon Francois was sidelined, and would not be returning to work at the end of her long vacation. I took the opportunity on Thursday evening to seek confirmation that the powers that be have refused to permit Henry to head the force in the absence this weekend of the current Acting Commissioner Monchery. Her response was a telling chuckle and an invitation to interview her on any matter relating to her professional activities. It is inconceivable that the astute police officer gave no thought to the possibility that my first question to her might be related to IMPACS, her involvement in the investigation, and her immediate future.

Since her call to TALK, several parties have suggested “there is no way La Corbiniere will allow Frances to talk to you, of all people.” My reaction: “Why not? Is he afraid the famously forthcoming Henry will confirm the popular view of our justice minister?”

In any event, soon enough we shall see!

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