AFTER months of criticizing the government over the IMPACS report and its backlash, the United Workers Party has finally distanced itself from it all. The report deals with claims of 12 unlawful killings by policemen in 2010 and 2011.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party has also refused to take ownership of the debacle and its backlash. In fact its political leader, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony last December placed the responsibility of it all on the shoulders of the Chairman of the UWP, Guy Mayers who at the time of the killings was the country’s Home Affairs and Security Minister.
Allen Chastanet, political leader of the UWP Thursday at a press conference said that IMPACS had nothing to do with his party.
“First of all let us debunk the idea that IMPACS has anything to do with the United Workers Party. Under the watch of the UWP there were allegations of extra-judicial killings. Four of those cases have gone through a coroner’s inquest and the policemen involved cleared. It is after elections that the now government decided to carry out an investigation of those alleged extra-judicial killings and that was after the US Government decided to impose the Leahy Law on Saint Lucia,” the party’s political leader, Allen Chastanet said.
His comments tied in with those of chairman, Mayers, who at that same press conference said that his party’s first order of business, on resuming the reins of governance of the country, would be to restore Saint Lucia’s image locally and in the international community.
“The United Workers’ Party pledges that one of the first acts of a new UWP Government will be to rescue the reputation of Saint Lucia….” Mayers said.
He, at the time, was attributing his remarks to the fallout Saint Lucia is currently experiencing with the United States of America which has withdrawn all financial, operational and technical support to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. The European Union which last December issued a statement calling on the Government of Saint Lucia to follow due process in its prosecution of those involved in the alleged extra-judicial killings.
“The country can no longer afford this matter to languish. As a people we must demonstrate our commitment to the observance of law and order, human rights and the rule of law. There must be closure to the debacle to what the IMPACS report has become free of political gamesmanship and recrimination,” Mayers said.
Mayers believes that the strong adverse reaction among the Americans and the Europeans to the findings contained in the IMPACS report is damaging the image of Saint Lucia abroad and with countries 0n which Saint Lucia depends for its economic survival.
“The UWP wishes to reassure Saint Lucians that within the first 100 days of coming into office we will announce the terms of reference of a three-member independent tribunal to review what has transpired so far and to recommend a way forward.” Mayers said, in reference to IMPACS.
Meanwhile the UWP plans to revoke Saudi Arabian Dr.WalidJuffali’s diplomatic appointment to the International Maritime Organization should it form the next government.
Mayers Thursday said that the circumstances of Juffali’s appointment will also be investigated.
“It is important that we take those steps to rebuild our relationship with the United Kingdom, one of our traditional trading partners and to remove Saint Lucia from any hint of being a scapegoat in Dr.Juffali’s alimony proceedings,” Mayers said.