Having acknowledged on 20 August 2013 the American government’s suspension of vital assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, monetary and otherwise, this is what the prime minister said on the issue nearly two years later: “The stark reality we confront is that the United States will only lift those sanctions if in their judgment all necessary corrective steps have been taken. “The fact remains that for a tainted unit or member of such a unit to become eligible for training again, the Secretary of State must determine and report to the United States Congress that the government of the affected country, in this case Saint Lucia, is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces to justice. In effect, if the sanctions are to be removed, we must show proof that we are taking corrective steps to deal with the situation.”
Last December the prime minister promised concerned representatives of the 28-member-state European Union that by April this year the DPP’s office would be in a position to bring to justice police officers, government officials and business people suspected of involvement in so-called “gross violations of human rights” at the time of Operation Restore Confidence.
In late January 2016 the U.S. authorities reminded the prime minister via his government’s representatives in Washington of their unchanged position regarding “the failure of your government to effectively investigate and prosecute those in your security forces alleged to have committed extra-judicial killings. The allegations were most recently highlighted in the CARICOM IMPACS report that was completed at the request of your government.”
Moreover: “The Department of State has been clear and very consistent on the need for investigations and prosecutions by your government for several years. Our Embassy in Bridgetown continues to work with its interlocutors in your government to see how we can assist with effective investigations and prosecutions, and we continue to coordinate our response on the lack of progress with other countries who are committed to supporting the rule of law and the investigation and conviction of those who have been credibly alleged to have committed extra-judicial killings across the Caribbean.”
In another missive the prime minister was again reminded “the Embassy of the United States to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean encourages the Government of Saint Lucia to take all available measures to guarantee the rule of law is upheld. We stand by our offer to assist Saint Lucia’s efforts to ensure due process in the framework of Saint Lucia’s criminal justice system. A clear demonstration of the government of Saint Lucia’s commitment to the rule of law would benefit the people of Saint Lucia as well as Saint Lucia’s international standing as a trusted, democratic partner in economic and security cooperation.”
Notwithstanding his pledge to the EU ambassadors last December, there has been no official announcement of progress at the DPP’s office. Victoria Charles, who retired two months ago, has not been replaced and by all the signs IMPACS—with all its ominous possibilities—remains in limbo. Meanwhile, it appears copies of the classified report have leaked into the public domain. For three weeks now I have been receiving from an anonymous source what may or may not be genuine pages from the document that many say only the prime minister and the DPP have seen.
The latest received pages identify by name the eight Jamaican investigators chosen by the Saint Lucia government to look into suspect police killings in 2010 and 2011.
According to page 9 of the ostensible report the investigators attempted to look into the death of Jacob Owen Jules but were stymied by named uncooperative officers. “This file was requested from . . . and to date the team has not received a copy.”
Fully investigated was the shooting death of Peter ‘Moonlight’ Williams “who was shot and killed by the police on 28 March 2010, about 10.30 pm at Pigeon Point . . .” I have chosen not to release at this time the reported findings while I await confirmation from the authorities that what I have been receiving is genuine—which would indicate security problems at the highest levels.
Some of the findings defy belief and suggest why the U.S. Department and the EU refer to them as “gross violations of human rights.”
As for the much talked about death list that the prime minister claimed on TV he had seen while in opposition, its existence was indeed confirmed, as the prime minister had last year informed the nation.
“While the list appears to represent a link association chart normally used for intelligence guide within law enforcement organizations,” says the page in hand, “there is evidence that the Special Team/Task Force placed heavy reliance on this list to target some of the individuals who were killed.
“During the team’s investigations, it was confirmed that several of the deceased persons were killed after superior orders were given. Of the 16 individuals killed within the period indicated for review, a total of six appeared on this listing referred to by the news media (social, electronic) and citizens of Saint Lucia as a hit list and as a black list.”
To the best of my knowledge no reporter has ever claimed to have seen a death list. Remarkably, there is no mention of the man who first confirmed its existence. As I say, I have no way of knowing whether the source of the information here quoted is the real McCoy. Only the prime minister knows for certain.
This week the former home affairs minister Guy Mayers served notice of his intention to sue the prime minister for slander in relation to his public statements on the 2010-2011 fatal police shootings.
Meanwhile, I have been informed by my anonymous sources that he/she (I’ve taken related calls from a male and a female) fully intends to release the full report to overseas human rights organizations if our government continues to delay placing IMPACS before the courts!