It’s doubtful that there was ever a time when the issue of visas has been consistently at the forefront of news in Saint Lucia. Following the elections of last year where the revocation of Castries central MP Richard Frederick’s U.S. visa took center stage, thanks to a well-oiled SLP machinery, the visa controversy has carried well over into 2012. The issue was further fueled by questions of what the Labour Party government would now do about the news of a high ranking cop’s U.S. visa being revoked. After all, they had put immense pressure on the then UWP government over Frederick’s visa issues. The top cop’s name has not been revealed by the government or the acting police commissioner.
Over the last few weeks the STAR has been receiving reports that several U.S. visa applications submitted by police officers have been denied. We were informed by a woman police officer that her application for a U.S. visa had been denied on the ground that none will be issued members of the Saint Lucia police force while it is under U.S. investigation. Reports reaching us were that the police were under investigation for suspected extra-judiciary executions.
The latest report reaching us was brought to light in an article by Rick Wayne which stated that another six police applicants had been rejected by the embassy.
In an interview with HTS on Monday, acting police commissioner Vernon Francois, who recently returned from an annual meeting of RSS countries said he had checked with the U.S. on the matter of visas being denied to cops.
He gave HTS this statement: “We have an excellent relationship between the US government and the Royal St Lucia Police Force, contrary to what is being published. In terms of issues, we are assured that there is no particular problems in the force and we are looking forward to having closer and better cooperation with the US government.”
Francois said that if visas were being denied it was on an individual basis. He said: “If there is an issue with police officers being refused it is not because of the fact that the person is a police officer but as an individual applying for a visa you need to make an appropriate case for the visa.”
There was no comment in the report on the top cop whose visa had been revoked.