PUBLIC response to the Prime Minister’s address last Sunday, on the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) report, was largely one of skepticism and regarded as “spin”. The Prime Minister explains that he was responding to demands from the U.S. Government which suspended all financial and training assistance to our Police Force. The action by Washington was based on what it claims was credible information that our police had committed gross violations of human rights. To summarize what the P.M said to the nation, unless effective steps were taken to bring those responsible to justice, and all necessary corrective action taken, then the United States sanctions against our police would remain in force.
However, we have grown accustomed to our Prime Minister spouting inanities such as ‘transparency and accountability,’ meaningless words that have never been practiced in principle. Those of us with selective memory may not recall or even deny that when the Prime Minister was asked to account for the over $150 million spent unlawfully in the Rochamel Affair by lawyer Martinus Francois, the P.M.’s response was “Take me to Court.” Now, he is contradicting himself by stating on Sunday: “I reiterate that neither this Prime Minister nor the Government that I have the honour to lead, will shirk its responsibilities in ensuring that our country abides by the rule of law.”
Consistency of respect for the laws or our Constitution has never been a redeeming quality of this Prime Minister for we are all too familiar with his record the latest being the Jack Grynberg matter.
We need to inculcate in our people an awareness of when the democracy which we are supposed to live under is not violated and abused. The Prime Minister instead of taking responsibility for this sordid episode goes on to say, ‘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.” This is yet another self –righteous pronouncement by the P.M. who is fully aware of what the laws of our country stipulate. Yet as a Constitutional lawyer our Prime Minister blatantly ignored the provisions of our constitution in the Grynberg affair, yet states in his address that he will ensure that our country abides by the rule of law. Based on past evidence what assurances do we have that the Prime Minister will follow the rule of law?
One would think that with the gravity of this issue the Prime Minister would take a hands-on approach in dealing with this matter, rather than passing the responsibility onto the shoulders of the D.P.P. It is just another ruse to extricate himself from a potentially dangerous and sensitive situation. Putting the responsibility on the shoulders of the D.P.P. to pursue criminal charges against senior members of our Police Force, seriously limits and undermines the government’s resolve in this matter. The expectation is that this ‘bombshell of a report’ which is in the hands of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers, must be dealt with transparency and accountability which were once the watchwords of the Prime Minister.
However, there are clear lines of responsibility in which the ultimate responsibility lies with the elected Minister at the top, who is the Prime Minister. Problems of the magnitude which our country face with regard to our Security Forces, should be the responsibility of the Prime Minister of the country, and not the D.P.P. which would seriously detract and undermine the government resoluteness and accountability in such a matter. The U.S.authorities can see right through Kenny’s attempts to placate them with his duplications attempts to convince them that he has taken ‘all the necessary corrective steps.’
Does the Prime Minister realize that while he can bamboozle the ‘lumpenproletaiat’ in this country, his attempts to achieve a positive reaction from the U.S. State Department will not appease the Americans, because of his flirtation with an undemocratic and autocratic regime on the fringes of our region, now at loggerheads with the U.S.A.
The majority of citizens in our country feel that the action by our police force between 2008-2010 was a necessary measure at the time. The violence by the criminal element put the whole country in fear because these violent criminals would gun down their targets with impunity. There is a concept in political philosophy called ‘just and unjust wars,’ in which we see the forces of the civilized world have instituted a brutal response to the cruel, brutal, inhumane acts against fellow human beings in which men, women, with no distinction between children, who suffer horrendous executions and deaths. The allied forces consisting of U.S. and NATO forces, and some Middle Eastern Countries have resolved themselves to destroy and exterminate this threat to civilized humanity. It is easy for the Prime Minister to take a moral posture, when peace and tranquility have been restored in this country. The violence perpetuated by these criminals put the whole country in a state of fear, because of the brazenness of their violent acts.
It is convenient for the Prime Minister to take a moral posture towards the action taken by our Security Forces. The UWP government at the time was faced with the dilemma of moral and legal constraints, in the midst of the necessity to deal firmly with the threat to our society from the criminal element. Nothing has so graphically highlighted this action by the revelation of the Prime Minister in his speech when he disclosed ‘for the months of January and February this year, for the first time in a decade, not a single homicide has been committed in St. Lucia.” Who should take credit for this state of affairs in our country? The government or our police force?
Our Prime Minister should have proposed to the United States, the case of our vulnerable country and the murderous carnage of the criminal elements, for like the response of the international community to the heinous acts of ISIS, there was no alternative course. It is also well known that the U.S.A. uses the most extreme measures by its SWAT teams to deal with threats to American society, and the maintenance of law and order within its borders.
We must give the undertaking to the Americans that all future action against the criminal element will be subject to moral and legal restraint with the direct assistance of the United States.
Instead our duplicitous Prime Minister points accusatory fingers at the top brass and management of the Police Force. St Lucians are an intelligent people, although our Prime Minister thinks otherwise. The people of St. Lucia recognize that he intends to get rid of those who have restored peace and tranquility to this country, and replace them by his own personal choices who will owe him allegiance.