IT may have been that headline in last weekend’s STAR newspaper which shouted in bold red ‘Looshan at Heart;’ quoting the island’s Prime Minister, referencing Chagoury, his Ambassador to UNESCO. Yes, ambassadorial appointments are one of the more onerous tasks of a Prime Minister. That headline was more recognizable than the middle-aged, Middle East face, on the front page, it so honoured. It may have been the thought that wealth can lure avarice into acts of intentional recklessness and that such acts may not be always welcome. Then again, excessive wealth has rarely been accumulated without a little unscrupulous conduct. Avarice is not easily satisfied. Soon, it develops a life of its own, becoming habit…and difficult to curb.
Whatever the reason (or reasons?) for my reaction to that newspaper headline, I knew at once that I had found a new cause to promote and to which I must hitch my wagon – and energy. I have long believed that the major cause of recurring (and increasing) poverty in the Caribbean is the ability of avarice, to siphon off scarce resources into its private pockets, whilst keeping the poor ignorant, and dependent.
Call it experience if you will but, these are the thoughts which created my Eureka moment as I perused last weekend’s STAR newspaper. Here’s an expansion of the idea: to get seven or eight like-minded Saint Lucians together, who must all be ‘Looshan at heart’ and also by birth or naturalization. They must be men and women who have conquered their demons and have no political axe to grind, and no more wealth to accumulate. They must have been well travelled, preferably having lived and worked in a developed country, experiencing harsh winters. Above all, these seven or eight must be distinguished by experience, knowledge, temperance, justice, fortitude, courage, clarity, vision and fearlessness.
I feel certain that of the proximate 200,000 persons who now live here, there are at least 200 who fit such a profile. It is from that lot that the seven or eight must come. Remember, dear reader, these are only my thoughts.
There is one more crucial qualification: each member of this proposed group must have concluded on their own accord, that “IMPACS” stands for ‘Imprudent Academics, Cabals and Scoundrels.’ Each member of the group must lean towards the same gut suspicion on “IMPACS,” and be willing to demand full disclosure of the recent IMPACS Report submitted to the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.
At the first meeting of the group it shall choose a name for itself. The purpose for the group’s formation is to bring open, frank and fearless discussion on issues including, the ‘IMPACS Report.’ I repeat that it is my considered opinion that the first order of business must be to convince the powers that be to release that report to the media and public. No excuses should be accepted for concealing any part of that report. The whole report, and nothing but the whole, must be exposed to the light of day, so all can see. After all, it was the people who were (and still are), traumatized by violence reported by ‘IMPACS’. Therefore, nothing else but full disclosure of that report will suffice.
If we have learned anything in the last 20 years or so, it is that ‘the more things change the more they remain the same.’ To create a better society and country things must be changed for better. Releasing the complete ‘IMPACS Report’ is therefore a step in the right direction. Citizens have a right to demand to see that report. It’s the least those who pleaded for government and the police to intervene (2010 and 2011) in order to curb rampaging crime, deserve. People were frightened! Some were afraid to leave their homes. Others would not venture out after dark or visit certain parts of Castries by day, or, by night. Saint Lucians were relieved, perhaps even happy, to see the end of that dark, crime-ridden period. Many more seemed pleased with the harsh actions of the police.
A minority have claimed that the police over reacted and killed where they should otherwise have arrested and prosecuted suspected persons. The police have tried that! Bail is granted and the ‘nice young men’ are released to continue their evil ways, while taunting the police. The watchful world, of which we claim uninvited membership, abhors killings which it considers, extra-judicial. To add to the complexity and seriousness of the situation, persistent rumours suggest that certain extra-judicial killings were directed from the higher echelons of society.
For all these reasons, the citizens of Saint Lucia who bore the brunt of stress and fear during the period of lawlessness (2010-2011), must demand a prompt release of that IMPACS Report which looked into those killings. Saint Lucians are tired of having their hard earned tax dollars fritted away on studies and reports which lay gathering dust in government offices. A new spin is to post these reports on a government website, and forget about them. Perhaps it is assumed that, once these are in the public domain, the more perceptive and engaged citizens will lobby for their implementation. Unfortunately, this island’s studied indifference to reading and then engaging authority, suggests otherwise.
Notwithstanding, Saint Lucians must insist that the island is not forced into another general election without full disclosure and release of the ‘IMPACS Report.’ That should be the resolve of those who love this country and who vote on issues, rather than blindly for one political party, or the other. Blind sentimentality is the emotion of mendicants whose minds are caged and unable to fly.
If the IMPACS Report is allowed to be treated as if the electorate were foolish virgins, who is to say when the next round of killings will begin and who will be the next victims. When violent crime returns what (or who?) can we blame but our silence? Can someone whose secret life is beneath the public radar order a killing or two, when his darker side is uncovered? Bear in mind dear reader, a cornered animal will attack with full force, in order to escape.
Finally, here are three questions which the general public ought to ask about the IMPACS Report. Is the reason for the non-release of the report a political one? Does the report expose certain politicians whose political value will be lost if the public gets to know the truth? Is there a secret agenda to shuffle the police hierarchy under the cover of that report? My wish and prayer is that you too, dear reader, will arrive at your Eureka moment. Feel free to use ‘impertinent’ instead of ‘imprudent’ and take note that I have said nothing on the Lambirds scandal.