Prior to any occasion when many of us tend to be in the grip of the various spirits of Saint Lucia, and at the mercy of the police, we receive from quarters east, west, north and south the admonition to “drink responsibly”. It is anyone’s guess what that actually means, considering what booze does to the mind: first time imbibers, as well as alcoholics who imagine themselves capable of drinking anyone under the table without losing their own balance, have all fallen victim. Basic decisions should never be trusted to partygoers, yet alone those involving life and death – regardless of notions about designated drivers.
Imagine my surprise upon receiving a video of a driver of a police vehicle, on a Saint Lucian road, flagrantly contravening every traffic law imaginable. One second he was on the left side of the road, the next he had crossed over to the right, barely avoiding on-coming traffic. Then it was left again, only this time the vehicle was being driven over footpaths at the roadside. All of this at night, with other drivers coming at the police vehicle with their headlamps full on. That the recorder of this nightmare did not get run off the road was sheer luck!
I have no doubt the video has been viewed by countless shocked drivers as well as others who have never sat behind a steering wheel, with the same impact: amazement. This video also serves as a wake-up call to those who earlier imagined our police officers more responsible.
What an advertisement for the quality of local law enforcement—as if already their image were not in the toilet.
An even bigger shock for me was that although the video has been making the rounds several days now, there has been no word about it from the police. No reassuring explanation; no suggestion that the driver was not himself a police officer. When I finally reached a police press officer after several failed attempts, I was assured that the matter was being investigated, like so many other unresolved incidents of serious crime committed years ago. I called yet another time, perchance there were new developments. There were none. “A statement will be issued as soon as there is something to report,” I was advised. To his credit, the press officer with whom I spoke was receptive to my suggestion that communication with the public is vital in such matters, even when any connected investigation is ongoing. Whether the reception will result in the advice being acted upon is left to be seen.
As of now the video in question has been viewed 15,505 times worldwide. Can you imagine a prospective visitor being exposed to this? There were 1,823 vehicular accidents recorded in 2017 with 16 fatalities, as confirmed by the police department.
Small wonder. Road safety is an issue that not only needs to be taken seriously but also to be seen as being taken seriously.