Editorial

A Serious Charge

Is this a joke? Did we hear it right? That the Prime Minister and the President of the Senate, two of the most powerful men in the country have information about a plot to overthrow the democratically-elected government and have done nothing about it? The Minister of National Security, Mr. Phillip La Corbiniere has not been heard with even the remotest reference to this alleged unconstitutional and supposedly violent act, by senior members of the Police Force, in cahoots with the United Workers Party, a full week after the first disclosure?

As far as we are aware, no one is under arrest or on charges. A statement from the Prime Minister’s office this week quoted him as saying he was awaiting the return of the acting Police Commissioner to St Lucia to investigate the reports. So what has the Senate President done with the information that he claims to have in his possession about the details of this plot? Are the ring leaders still in their jobs? If so, does it not mean that there is a threat to our security waiting to be put into action?

Interestingly, the Senate President is reported to have made allegations of what sounded to many as a coup plot and a conspiracy by senior police officers and the UWP to “overthrow” the government, or is it the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister says he has information that is “consistent” with what the Senate President has, but he talks of a plot involving “a small minority of police officers bent on embarrassing the government…for political ends”.

If there is a plot, there is plot, and there has to be evidence of a plot. So why do we have to investigate whether there is a plot? Shouldn’t these trouble makers be under lock and key right now?

This newspaper will never support the violent overthrow of any government that is elected by the people of St Lucia, if that is what is being suggested, so on that count we condemn without reservation, any plot towards that objective, if one exists.

But why has public response to this alleged plot been so low-key. In fact, the news has been met with almost total disbelief with many questioning the credibility and integrity of the Senate President. We are reminded that this is not the first time that he has publicly peddled this sort of information. At one time it was he who was targeted for assassination. Another time it was the National Security Minister.

What makes this matter more serious, however, is that it targets senior members of the already beleagured Police Force. That these have been trying times for the Force everyone knows quite well. It was only earlier this year that we witnessed the parents of the murdered Oliver Gobat—with the Speaker of the House in between as legal counsel–making equally damming allegations about members of the Force?

On that occasion, our Police Force was accused of incompetence, complicity in murder, corruption, and receiving monies. The accusers even quoted the Prime Minister as saying that the Police Force was corrupt. On that occasion, no state official came out to defend the lawmen. Then we had the IMPACS report…. and now we have this.

Like most St Lucians at this time, we are anxious to see the evidence of this alleged plot to overthrow the government. It is a serious charge for which there can be severe repercussions, if proven. Our people must not be too quick to dismiss the claims out of hand. There is a process in these matters and it is our hope that it will be implemented, with clarity and transparency, because given recent developments, it is obvious that the entire image of the Police Force is in serious jeopardy.

The UWP, too needs to step up to the allegations. No one is interested in whether the claim by The Senate President is “absurd”. The fact is that the party has been fingered and must now speak up.

1 Comment

  1. There is a huge difference between a credible plot by some members of law enforcement to overthrow the government and a few disgruntled members of the police high command who execute their duties with an objective to embarrass the Prime Minister and government.

    The former is tantamount to treason which is a very serious charge involving jail time and even perhaps the death penalty in many countries. The latter, on the other hand, is a matter for the PSC (Public Service Commission) which would involve discipline not limited to suspension, demotion or outright expulsion from the force.

    We have a duty to report on this issue responsibly by thoroughly investigating the story to distill the truth and to report the findings in a manner that would not cause the country unnecessary alarm. If it is found out that no coup is being planned but rather unnecessary, politically motivated, and unprofessional “jawing” by idiots wearing khakis.

    Some are implicating the opposition into this simply because they think that the actions of these persons are quietly condoned by the UWP because they stand to benefit politically if the group succeeds in embarassing the government to the point of destablizing it.

    Of course there need not be a shred of evidence of this as in the silly season propaganda becomes gospel for the gullible.

    While it is obvious that the UWP which has been on the ropes since their defeat at the polls with allegations of impropriety while in office, as well as a sustained leadership fracas, is looking for an issue to hitch they wagons to it would be the last nail in their coffin there was any truth to their complicity in this saga.

    Hopefully, Chastanet and his supporters would be smart enough to see that the squeeze is not worth the juice in this matter and not only deny any involvement but strongly repudiate such actions should there be any truth to these allegations.

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