Chamber Discusses Report Today
THE explosive report on the alleged killing of several persons by police during a nationwide fight against crime is gathering much reaction.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony Sunday night made a statement on the findings of the investigation carried out by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force which implicated senior police officers in a number of ‘extra judicial killings” between 2010 and 2011 and recommended that they be prosecuted.
As we were going to press yesterday, THE VOICE was informed that several families of victims of police fatal shootings were studying their options and were planning a protest march ahead of pursuing legal action.
The Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce will today discuss the Prime Minister’s address especially his references to the statement by the investigators that “the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/governments officials, business persons and police officers.”
The Chamber’s Executive Director Brian Louisy yesterday said that the organization’s Board of Directors will meet at 4:00 p.m. today to examine and discuss the Prime Minister’s statement.
The Prime Minister did not highlight all the findings and recommendations in the report noting that because of the extreme gravity of the matter he will not discuss or review the evidential basis of the conclusions of the investigators, instead leaving it up to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution to deal with.
“The matter of pursuing criminal charges is the preserve of the Director of Public Prosecutions and it is she who will pronounce on the same once her actions are consistent with our Constitution,” the Prime Minister said Sunday, adding that he will not allow the executive branch of Government, which he leads, to transgress the province of the two other branches of government namely the legislature and the judiciary.
“The question whether anyone is to be prosecuted is solely for the Director of Public Prosecution to determine after evaluating and assessing the probative value of the evidence placed before her. The most that the executive arm of the government can do is to provide the resources to the Director of Public Prosecutions to carry out the duties and the responsibilities assigned to her by our Constitution. A copy of the report has now been made available to her,” Dr. Anthony said.
Some of the findings in the report of the eight member team from CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), as stated by the Prime Minister, confirmed reports that were already in the public domain.
For instance and according to the Prime Minister “these findings relate not only to those officers who were involved in the operations but additionally, members of the high command of the Police Force who may have been involved in covering up these matters.”
According to Dr. Anthony, the investigators confirmed that there was a police black list or death list, as had been widely claimed and denied by police. In fact photos of those on the black list were circulating on social media during the years in question.
Other findings of the investigators, as mentioned by the Prime Minister included the much talked about shootings, all of which, the investigators noted were faked encounters staged by the police to legitimize their actions.
The investigators further added that the weapons supposedly found on the scene of the alleged extra-judicial killings were from sources other than the victims and that the weapons were planted on the scene of the shootings.
According to the Prime Minister the investigators advised that “a number of shootings were done by police officers and are listed on the murder statistics as being done by unknown assailants.”
Even more alarming, and of serious concern are the findings by the investigators that in the course of their investigation, some senior police officers did not cooperate with them. They reported that the main server of the computers used by some members of the high command of the Police Force was deliberately tampered with, and that in two instances, the operating systems of the computers were altered to place the supposed contents beyond the timeline of the investigation.
The Prime Minister noted that the report recommended that some senior police officers be held accountable for their actions or for their failure to take appropriate action when the alleged killings occurred.