Last September, this newspaper featured a lead item entitled: “Remember What You Know that I Know that You Know that I Know?” If to the uninformed eye the headline read like gibberish, it nevertheless reminded most Saint Lucians of the anything but funny famous 2006 pre-election confrontation outside the NIC conference room, featuring the soon to be unseated Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and newcomer to the arena but already controversial Richard Frederick, an independent candidate seeking to replace the incumbent Castries Central MP.
No need to revisit the cited publication. Suffice it to say it referenced an August 2013 SLP rally when the SLP leader and prime minister not only uncharacteristically sang lustily for his USDA-approved cheeseburger, but also acknowledged that without US greenbacks, local law enforcement efforts at combating human and drug trafficking would be severely handicapped.
While earlier the Minister for Legal Affairs had sought to invalidate my revelation that funding supplied under the Leahy Law arrangements had been suspended—as punishment for the government’s self-serving reluctance to investigate alleged human rights violations by local cops—the prime minister was subsequently left little choice but to confirm my story, as diplomatically as possible, during a televised public address.
For certain particularly well-informed readers, however, perhaps the scariest part of my September account was the warning of a “combustible matter about to bust wide open, involving the Financial Intelligence Authority, whose director is local lawyer Paul Thompson. The rest of the unit comprises police and customs officers.”
The FIA was set up to deal particularly with money laundering and other crimes involving finance.
The final paragraph: “For the time being I need only ask again: What does the prime minister know about this ticking FIA bomb that Richard Frederick may or may not know, and about which Philip J. Pierre and fellow Cabinet colleagues may have not a clue? This time around, who will be the sacrificial lamb?”
Although I had strategically neglected to mention it at the time, my sources had suggested that never mind the well-publicized laundering of their dirty linen on Bridge Street and in William Peter Boulevard, away from prying ears the prime minister and Richard Frederick enjoyed an association a long way from acrimonious. I might’ve easily accepted the incredible suggestion had it involved any other two politicians. The prime minister and the Castries Central MP was altogether another cup of canelle tea.
There was no official reaction; at any rate, publicly. But well-positioned sources had assured me my article ruffled some feathers high up the ovine food chain.
Indeed, my article seemed to have confirmed their long-held suspicions I not only had CIA and US State Department sources, but also close links with local government personnel connected with American agencies.
Whether or not true, that was hardly the point. I had fully expected some official reaction. In particular, to my not-so-subtle suggestion that the US visas held by certain cops were under threat—the justice minister’s too, if the government continued to drag its feet on promises to the State Department relating to the suspected human rights violations by local cops.
Then came the public announcement that in keeping with US demands, IMPACS, a previously unheard of OECS group comprising largely distrusted Jamaican cops, had started looking into allegations that members of the RSLPF had in 2011 extra-judicially disposed of several supposedly troublesome citizens during Operation Restore Confidence.
Under normal circumstances, once such an investigation was underway, funding to the police would’ve been restored. In this instance, the Leahy funds continue to be withheld, a fact recently acknowledged officially here.
Lately, however, our self-convinced oracular legal affairs minister has been bragging all over the pussycat local media. Perhaps in response to my treatment of his risible attempt at intimidating our reporters, the SLP-plagued Timothy Poleon in particular, the minister has been suggesting I knew not whence I cometh—evinced by his retention of his US visa.
Of course, the reason for that is the IMPACS investigation. How long the unelected minister is allowed to keep his visa will, I suspect, depend on the impact of IMPACS, expected to report its findings next month.
Meanwhile, another bombshell involving the Financial Intelligence Authority: it turns out a special file, according to my sources, “this thick,” and cash exhibits totaling some $US4000 that were kept in an ostensibly “secure cabinet” at the FIA, have vanished.
The legal affairs minister, who was recently issuing threats against sections of the media via RSL, has known for some time about the missing file and money, but has chosen to keep the matter from the general public. I cannot say, for certain, whether he has informed his prime minister.
My information is that he also knows who removed the file without expressed justification—and its present location. The minister is also aware that certain items have inexplicably disappeared from the file. As for the missing thousands, there has been no accounting for the withdrawal.
The reason the file was removed from the FIA secure cabinet is, to say the least, perplexing. My sources tell me the excuse centers on a burglary that went unreported until long after the fact. The legal affairs minister alone knows what he did with the received information. To the best of my knowledge the police are not investigating the matter, at any rate, not with any noticeable urgency!
The stolen money was an exhibit in the Donovan Lorde case, at least five years pending. As for the items extracted from the “this thick” file, it concerned the earlier mentioned behind the scenes relationship between the prime minister and the much-maligned Castries Central MP—especially by the Minister for Legal Affairs!
Several years ago a vault containing classified documents and an undisclosed amount of money was surreptitiously removed from the office of the police commissioner.
The STAR broke that story, which was subsequently officially confirmed. Hopefully, the FIA director and the Minister for Legal Affairs will be, however late in the day, as forthcoming.
The plot thickens!