Letters & Opinion

Is The People’s C.O.P The PM’s ‘Wilful Blindness’?

By Alexis B. Montgomery

POLICE Commissioner Vernon Francois
POLICE Commissioner Vernon Francois

THE Prime Minister earlier in his national address on the IMPACS report in March clearly referred the matter to the rightful expertise of the Director of Public Prosecutions. He said to a keenly listening public: “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.”

The language of the Prime Minister’s address on the IMPACS report leaves little room for objectivity as this address has whipped up much speculation and hearsay. That was not his piece de resistance, however. The island’s leader went on to speak to the report confirming that “the black list or death list” referenced by the media, human rights organizations, victim’s (sic) families and citizens alike did exist.

The Prime Minister’s chosen disclosures, some have surmised, appear to have gnawed away a good chunk of public confidence in the police; especially in light of how he elaborated on the report, perhaps to make it clear to the public or the relevant American authority that the RSLPF was being dealt with.

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He went on to elaborate further that: “More alarmingly the investigators report that all the shootings reviewed were ‘fake encounters’ staged by the Police to legitimize their actions.”

What an unflattering bombshell, detonated in a national address all directed at the one and only entity responsible for national security and law enforcement in the land. Would it not have been more prudent for the Prime Minister if he had exercised more restraint, having considered of course, the negative impact of such remarks on the Police?

Not to be deterred the leader of the country continued to say things that smeared the over one hundred year old paragon of discipline and dedication established in 1834.

“Further, that the weapons supposedly found on the scene of the alleged extra judicial killings were from sources other than the victims. The investigators say that the weapons were “planted on the scene of the shootings.”

That was not all; going for the jugular and all the main arteries of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Prime Minister continued in his address, being careful to ascribe his comments to “the investigators”. He said – “the investigators also advised that “a number of shootings were done by police officers and are listed on the murder statistics as being done by unknown assailants”. Revealingly the report suggests that “the crime problem in Saint Lucian is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers”.

A very loaded allegation, yet to receive serious scrutiny by the Kenny Anthony government. If the island has been flagged for corruption, shouldn’t the government move expeditiously to address such a concern, as it can damage the island’s reputation in several ways, including in respect to investor confidence and tourism.

The RSLPF, though we believe very resilient, was pulverized in the wake of his national address. The Prime Minister disclosed publicly that investigators reported some senior officers did not co–operate with them. He also said that during the period under review investigators indicated that there was “an environment of impunity and permissiveness designed to achieve the desired results (what desired results?) Willful blindness existed in respect of the Commissioner of Police and particular members of his leadership and management team.”

Finally after issuing about ten successive body blows to the RSLPF in the form of burning findings from the IMPACS report, the Prime Minister arrived at the head of the organization still firing from all cylinders. Mr. Vernon Francois stood in the direct line of fire as having being a practitioner of “wilful blindness”. (Is that some kind of voodoo?) Again a pairing of words used by the Prime Minister in his address, which in any event has continued to be the main talking point of the current circumstance of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Vernon Francois.

The verdict is still out on the exact intention of the national address: nevertheless an unhappy episode it has become. For sure it is still being questioned because many of the attendant issues remain unresolved including the plight of the police commissioner. Incidentally at one point, the Office of the Prime Minister in attempting to quell raging speculation on the issue assured that there was no intention to replace the Commissioner of Police. Does that sentiment still hold and if so why is this astute and efficient senior public officer being kept off the job?

Vernon Francois is a much loved individual. He is by most accounts the people’s favourite Commissioner of Police and arguably a man of the people. As a result of his people– person persona, the public has overwhelmingly supported the police commissioner. If we are to subscribe to the Prime Minister’s address in which he said: “In effect if the sanctions are to be removed, we must show proof that we are taking corrective steps to deal with the situation”:

Is keeping Mr. Francois off the job the primary way in which Prime Minister Anthony and his administration decided to show proof that they are taking corrective steps to deal with the situation?

1 Comment

  1. Alexander the Greek:

    Why are you so averse to truth ? Kenny was not the originator of the damming report of the corrupt police department led by an incompetent and the criminally skewed Vernon Francois who accommodated the murder of truck loads of Lucians while dead bodies adorned the Castries and Vieux Fort landscapes, and your attempt to honey-coat the ghastly acts of murder under Francois speaks volumes of your infernal character.

    My only problem with Kenny Antony’s Administration is the lack of concrete action taken after five months of the hideous revelations by IMPAC of the practices by these KILLER COPS led by Vernon Francois.

    If Vernon Francois were as “loving” as you claim, he would not have ignored the murder of one Lucian, and certainly not two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twenty murders staged and orchestrated by a bunch of KILLER COPS.

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