STUNNED by the historic sentence of time served (four years on remand) to French national Eric Sommer on a guilty plea of “voluntary manslaughter” to causing the death of Lucas Francois, a Saint Lucian national, at Pigeon Island on May 12, 2012, citizens are up in arms.
Inmates on remand at Bordelais Correctional Facility are deliberating how much more torture to expect from a dysfunctional justice system and the deafening appeal to persons responsible for the legislative and judicial arms of the state.
The odds are that the revolving door of the justice system has created a socio-economic prison, beginning with the epistemic arrogance of Prime Minister Kenny Anthony’s administration.
Recent events are more profound to the intellectual dishonesty that has the propensity to say one thing and do another. What is more striking is the lack of engagement and soul-searching to the obsession with false promises, denial about the happy face of socio economic deprivation and the root cause of injustice.
In my article When Toddlers Rule I wrote: “The circumstances surrounding IMPACS seemingly has met that threshold. But more importantly, this matter looms large on the economic front and on Saint Lucia as a sovereign state. Viewing the EU diplomatic corps press conference earlier this month [January 14, 2016] that schooled Prime Minister Kenny Anthony concerning foreign policy goals, national security provisions and objectives gave the impression of the resumption to colonial rule”.
At that press conference, Saint Lucia based French ambassador Eric de La Moussaye, complained about this country’s broken justice system and the plight of six Frenchmen at the Bordelais Correctional Facility, particularly Eric Sommer.
What is more demonstrable is “diplomatic justice” and the notion that perhaps represents trade-offs on future operations that remain shrouded in secrecy, resulting from Saint Lucia’s distressing issues confronting IMPACS and US action in the Caribbean.
Hence, acting on the prevailing conditions that influence vulnerability, the French walked right through open doors. The rationale is epistemic humility doubled down on Prime Minister Anthony and his useless administrative model of epistemic arrogance.
The other dynamic that may have arisen is “opportunity cost” on border security. Or, was it mere coincidence that the recent narco-trafficking operation was appropriate to foreign authorities’ military assets?
Prime Minister Anthony has often underscored the executive’s separation from the legislative and the judicial arms of the state: “I will not allow the executive which I lead to transgress the province of the other two arms. I intend to fully continue respecting that sacred separation.”
Of course that does not bear the slightest suspicion that the country’s leadership makes unintelligent decisions that has the facade of uprightness. Actually, it’s just as important to being lucky fools of deception.
Therefore, how can one trust Prime Minister Anthony’s administration akin to backward leftist political and economic model of blind optimism and portray respectability, amidst mounting legal perils?
But, bear with me to understand predictable ineptitude from senior government ministers’ selective intelligence.
Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security, Victor Phillip La Corbiniere, calls the speculation surrounding the perceived expedited court hearing of a foreigner “distasteful”, laying claims that there were very few instances where the deficiencies in the judiciary protracted the defendant’s time as a remand prisoner at Bordelais Correctional Facility, denying claims of preferential treatment.
Philip J. Pierre, minister responsible for infrastructure, port services and transport, has shrugged off suggestions that preferential treatment has been shown to a French national.
From end to end the candour implied is more of an illusion to a bona fide application of a ”French kiss”!
The struggle for Prime Minister Anthony’s weak administration is to rationalize how best to position the pathogens of deception. But ironically, it is intolerable to operate from a position of weakness. It serves no good to anyone learning to cope through humiliation and false expectations, this can only breed more unhappiness.
So, again, turning to the issues confronting a broken justice system, the pathogens of deception and the paralysis of fear gripping the country, citizens must demand social, economic and judicial reform. Prime Minister Anthony’s doggedness to reject citizens’ endorsement to constitutional reform signals business as usual for his administration’s phantom philosophy and inability to walk the talk.
In today’s political environment, jam-packed with common talking heads and the usual suspects, the greater need is to attain political awareness to counter abstract thought and sustained willpower to reverse the miserable affairs of state. Yes, there is hope to correct and guide the path forward, but the impulsiveness for a revolution must be one of brains and ballots, to win-over the current direction the country is heading.
Moreover, on the road to transform Saint Lucia, the disconcerting progress in mediocrity that is bound to the status quo must end; in order to keep citizens free form the prison of the past and the privileges bestowed on pathogens in the system of governance.
Indeed, dwindling funds have strained programmes and cutbacks to technical support have caused a split in the application of resources. However, this is due in part to a revenue problem and the non existence of a sensible economic plan.
All of which brings into question, how much the country’s leadership understands the odds to succeed in a system that slices and dices, misdiagnoses and botches solutions. And if, according to the political rhetoric, this election is about defining the future, then how can one be 100% Saint Lucian when government is incapable of defending rights and freedoms, economic well-being, equal opportunity with the dispensation of “selective” rule of law.
Human rights activist and attorney at law, Mary Francis, has acknowledged that “jail inmates need a champion to expedite their matters and to have the same clout as Sommer, maybe that’s how you get justice in this place [Saint Lucia]. You must have somebody of consequence behind you.”
The nature of this compounds the visible odds that are not favourable to the moral outcry for justice in Saint Lucia. The nexus comes into focus in the French Embassy’s statement that perhaps wraps up all complexities and uncertainties.
“After four years, the Sommer case is closed. The trial, which was anticipated by the French authorities, at the highest levels, was finally held and led to the release of Eric Sommer. Mr Sommer left Saint Lucia that night.”
Constitutional lawyer, Martinus Francois, says: “Time served is outrageous. Our own people have been languishing on remand for umpteen years without any mercy, without any caring on the part of the authorities, adding that the situation was disgraceful. The justice system here will lose all credibility in the eyes of the people.”
In view of that, it is tough not to be guarded against injustice, trauma and misery. And so, it is important to remind the leftist political class that the inflated grandeur of epistemic arrogance constrains human ingenuity and imagination.
And if such backward course of action continues, this will lead to an extended period of socio-economic mayhem, judicial injustice and distress with the trappings to make the country more ideologically bankrupt and frantic than present.
(Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He can be reached at: email@example.com)