By the sound in the streets of Castries, all eyes will be glued to their TV sets tomorrow evening, all ears to their radios. Indeed, overseas-based Saint Lucians are equally curious about the immediate future of the local police force, based as it is on the promised revelations of the IMPACS report .
No doubt the nation will hear what were the terms of reference given the Jamaican investigators. Also, discombobulating references to suggestions in the prime minister’s “An Unhappy Episode” address on August 20, 2013—in particular, the following:
“The current events have their origin in the twelve individuals who were shot and killed by police officers between 2010 and 2011, during the tenure of the government of the United Workers Party.”
As if to underscore his meaning, the prime minister added: “Those killings occurred after the former government launched what was then described in the media and elsewhere as Operation Restore Confidence.”
The prime minister also revealed that while in opposition he had seen “a hit list of targeted persons deemed criminals . . . In the aftermath of Operation Restore Confidence some twelve persons met their deaths.”
He said the issue of twelve suspected extra-judicial executions had attracted the attention of the United States and led to State Department actions against the local force.
“From its inception,” said the prime minister nearly two years ago, his government had “understood the seriousness of this matter and its implications for the police force—and indeed the former political directorate.” He did not say how his predecessor was involved, however.
He emphasized his government’s appreciation of America’s assistance in fighting local crime: “Saint Lucia values its close cooperation with the United States in security matters because without this understanding and cooperation our borders can never be secure.”
Again the prime minister seemed to engage in finger pointing at his predecessors: “We now reap the harvest of rash decisions—particularly by policy makers anxious to gain quick resolutions.”
Conceivably the IMPACS investigators will identify what were the related rash decisions that had led to the deaths of twelve individuals and how policy makers had sought to gain quick resolutions.
Reportedly, the police commissioner Vernon Francois is on vacation leave. His predecessor Ausbert Regis was recently interviewed by the prime minister’s press secretary, in relation to the latest crime figures.
Referring directly to IMPACS, Regis said “there will be negative fallout for the police but the government must find the courage to do what it has to do. Otherwise, they might as well close shop.”
The prime minister has twice postponed official comment on the IMPACS report and there has been no word about its release for public consumption!