Having been left dumbfounded and off balance by the prime minister’s address to the nation on 8 March, 2015, I acquired a copy for more meticulous analysis. I also engaged in some research, the better to determine its integrity. Finally I formed the impression the speech had been put together only for selfish reasons, with little consideration for the RSLPF’s current predicament and the consequences on the people we seek to serve. (Yes, I am a proud and dedicated police officer—obviously in camouflage—absolutely outraged by the horrible wrong that has been done the force.)The prime minister started out by providing what he claimed was the background to what had brought the force to its present position. He reminded listeners of the violent crime wave that had swept Saint Lucia between 2008 and 2010 and had imposed unofficial curfews on the frightened population In my view, this was the only part of the prime minister’s address that came close to truth.
But then I smelled something rotten in the state of Denmark when it seemed Dr. Anthony’s main purpose was to lay blame on the former UWP administration for the crime wave—a clear indication that I was watching and listening to a man possessed, not a concerned leader determined to make things right for those who had placed their faith in his leadership. His sole preoccupation, it seemed to me, was to paint in depressing colours the years before his party returned to office for a third term, and to absolve himself personally of any blame for the mess that overwhelms our country, including the harm done our once mutually rewarding relationship with the US Government.
Very early in his televised speech, the PM misrepresented his predecessor when he claimed the former Prime Minister Stephenson King had stated: “There will be no refuge, no stone will be left unturned; there will be no hiding place for anyone.”
Dr. Anthony seemed to have forgotten that in an address on 20 August, 2013 he had quoted Mr. King as saying, while referring to unidentified criminal suspects,“They will be hunted down, they will be found, they will be prosecuted, they will be judged and will be made to pay for their crimes against our peace-loving and law-abiding people.” The last quoted statement is in perfect harmony with the Constitution.
But on 8 March, 2015 Dr. Anthony either suffered a memory lapse or he calculatedly edited Mr. King’s speech to suit his purpose of blackening the former prime minister’s record. I formed the impression that the PM’s purpose was to mislead the nation into believing some members of the UWP government had, with others, planned and executed several extra-judicial killings. Even the most prejudiced among us will agree that such words as “prosecuted” and “judged” are not related to extra-judicial prosecutions. The quoted words were delivered on TV and elsewhere; the speech containing them is easily accessible. The average Saint Lucian is intelligent enough to have seen through the veil of subterfuge.
At this juncture, it is important to point out my personal disappointment with Stephenson King’s reaction to the mutilation of his address. A couple of days later the media sought a reaction from Mr. King but all he chose to say was, “I never gave the police instructions to shoot and kill. No PM does that.”
I expected him to set the record straight, on his own behalf and on the behalf of the police. Instead he offered a response not short of dotish. It was a major disappointment to his supporters that King failed to chastise Prime Minister Anthony for misquoting him.
Let us now turn to the heart of the prime minister’s address: The IMPACS Report. Under the section “background” Prime Minister Anthony stated another falsehood that requires rebutting in the strongest possible way: the former PM King had no input in the formation of the “special police task force” so often mentioned by the current prime minister in his IMPACS address. Operation Restore Confidence and all it comprised was strictly a police initiative, as was Operation Restore Peace in 1998, soon after Dr. Anthony first took office.
Contrary to what Dr. Anthony said on TV, the special task force associated with Operation Restore Confidence was not “immediately placed under the command of deputy commissioner Moses Charles.” Do your research, sir, and you will discover that before Moses Charles someone else was in charge. Beware the police snitches, dear prime minister, that have been feeding you falsehoods, for selfish purpose. As you stated in your address, this whole IMPACS matter has encouraged police officers against one another in the name of personal survival. Some who pretended to have first-hand information couldn’t have been farther from the incidents they reported on.
Added the prime minister on TV: “These deaths attracted the attention of the US, among others.” Who were the “others” attracted? Kenny? Tony? La Corbiniere? SLP operatives? Criminals? The nation should also ask the PM to reveal how and why the alleged police executions attracted the attention of the US State Department and who were the providers of the so-called “credible information.”
It is appropriate at this stage to remind readers of an item published by Saint Lucia News Online that centered on a lawsuit by Richard Frederick against the US Government. In his suit Frederick claimed his US visa was revoked following certain allegations made to the US embassy in Barbados. The article identified one individual, a former ranking police officer. Remarkably, the named police officer has never refuted the suggestion that he, as well as SLP operatives, had provided the US with supposedly “damning information.” The case went nowhere. Still you’d have expected a reaction from the identified police officer or the take-no-prisoners SLP propaganda machine. They remain silent on this particular matter of public interest.
I dare to say, regardless, that the people have a right to know quickly who is responsible for the current comatose state of the RSLPF—a life and death situation. The former UWP administration? Snitches within the force? SLP operatives? If only in this case, the truth is stranger than the fiction so far served the trusting people of Saint Lucia. Will there ever be full disclosure? Will the false witnesses who created this chaos be rewarded hiding places? And what about the alleged perpetrators of the much talked of “gross violations of human rights . . . the police officers, government officials, politicians and businessmen,” to quote the prime minister?
On the evening of his address the PM reminded viewers that Saint Lucia is governed by a Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Therefore, did we need the US State Department to direct our course of action following several deaths by unnatural means?
Another disturbing matter for me was the prime minister’s revelation that the Saint Lucia police force was unable to purchase ammunition for its American-made weapons, another consequence of the alleged gross violations of human rights. This is another fabrication. There was never a time when the RSLPF attempted to purchase ammunition from the US and was turned away. But even if the prime minister’s story were true, how responsible was his decision to broadcast such dangerous information to our criminal population?
As for Saint Lucia being a member of such regional organizations as OECS, CARICOM and RSS, I ask: To what avail? None has shown any concern, nor stood in solidarity with the RSLPF. Recently, there were calls—including several from Saint Lucia—for CARICOM countries to rally around Venezuela during its impasse with the US. But no such call has been made to benefit Saint Lucia.
This is yet another example of how we allow ourselves to be duped by similarly minded politicians and their ghost integration movements. The fact of the matter is that the dog-eat-dog, cut-throat culture perpetuated by our leaders is killing the Caribbean. Killing all of us, regardless of party affiliation, regardless of occupation. Caribbean politicians should appreciate that in this era of terrorism the US needs the Caribbean more than we need the US.
It is beyond my understanding that other RSS and CARICOM countries are participating as usual in US-funded training programmes while a sister territory is left to fend for itself. It’s almost as if everyone has turned their backs on us, hung us out to dry, as they say. They should instead be standing by the RSLPF, rather than encouraging the divide-and-rulers. Today, Saint Lucia. Who knows for certain who will be targeted for blackmail tomorrow? Then again, with so many unanswered questions swirling around our government’s head, perhaps our colleagues in our sister territories are at a loss how to react. As the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves. The police and the people have been badly betrayed. But the evidence has been buried. It remains to be seen for how long!
Next week: A closer look at the actual IMPACS report!