Twelve individuals were killed between 2011 and 2012 during the extensive crossfire of alleged extrajudicial police shootings. Because of its inability to diminish the heat of the scandal, the United States government ceased all military assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) under the concern that some policemen had violated human rights (Leahy Law). Visas granting access to the United Stated of America were also cancelled and denied for several officers due to the unsolved murders.
In August 2013 then Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony confirmed the intervention of a team of private investigators from Jamaica, who formed part of an agency called CARICOM IMPACS. By March 2015 a report had been reviewed by local government and submitted to the day’s Director of Public Prosecutions. Although the report was not released to the public, Kenny Anthony addressed the nation, noting that recommendations had been made, and said, “Revealingly, the report suggests that the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians, government officials, business persons and police officers.”
This month, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Daarsrean Greene reportedly gave the go ahead for officers allegedly involved in the case to be questioned.
On Monday 25 September Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Senator Hermangild Francis, professed, “We have seen some movement with IMPACS. Police officers were asked to come for an interview and they did.”
Although the event triggered animation in the media, and the faces of those policemen were revealed in newscasts, no one has been arrested. Francis confirmed, “We have not arrested any police officer. The investigation is being continued. I have no idea who the individuals are; the DPP and I have not discussed what was his reason for questioning those particular officers.”
Senator Francis also chided the press by saying, “Their [police officers] pictures were being splashed on the television and the connotations are quite obvious and I don’t think that was the right thing to do.”
At a press briefing on Tuesday 26 September with the Police Welfare Association’s (PWA) Executive, the distress of police officers was also highlighted.
President of the PWA, Travis Chicot averred, “We have been in contact with our members and we understand the emotional needs at this point in time. Our responsibility is to provide the necessary support to these men as they go through those interviews in this time of interrogation.” He further commented sympathetically, “We must say it’s something that is very heart-aching to us as we are faced with investigations of our own.”
However concerning the ongoing investigation itself, it seems that neither the Minister of Justice nor the Police Welfare Association has been briefed about its proceedings. Both parties claimed that they would be able to provide more information only when meetings have been arranged with DPP Daarsrean Greene and the attorney general.
Nevertheless, Public Relations Officer, PWA, Zachary Hippolyte, had a very direct message for public and justice officials: “Whilst all this investigation is going on, everything seems to be centred around just the police. Even when Kenny Anthony gave the briefing of the IMPACS report he did indicate as to other entities involved: lawyers, politicians and businessmen. We would like to know: where are they? Are they being investigated, is there a separate investigation for them?”