THE United States of America could provide a lot more assistance to St. Lucia had the issue investigated by CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) two years ago was resolved.
United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, made the disclosure Thursday while underscoring the importance of the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean.
She handed over office equipment worth EC$100,000 donated to the Crown Prosecutions Service unit prompting reporters to ask whether the IMPACS matter that has soured relations between St. Lucia and the United States was resolved.
“The IMPACS thing has not been resolved yet. It will be resolved in the near future. We have asked the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) to continue moving forward with it. I am not privy to where the case now stands, but yes, I think if the case (IMPACS) is resolved, we would have a better relationship because we could provide a lot more assistance to St. Lucia,” Ambassador Taglialatela said.
The s IMPACS matter has its origin in the 2010/2011 fatal police shooting of 12 individuals. The United States and member countries of the European Union have since called for an investigation into the deaths and for the matter to be brought before a court of law.
The Government of St. Lucia, pressured by the United States to act on the allegations of human rights violations following the shootinsg, got a team of experts from CARICOM’s Implementation Agency against Crime and Security to investigate the fatal shootings. By then, the United States had already implemented sanctions against the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.
The report from the IMPACS team caused further consternation amongst the Americans and Europeans, with both calling on the Government of St. Lucia to deal with concerns they had that arose from the findings of the IMPACS team.
IMPACS, it seems, has not driven the United States away from St. Lucia totally, as was seen with the donation of office equipment to the Crown Prosecution Service Unit.
Ambassador Taglialatela spoke of the United States and the Caribbean developing a long-term relationship based on trust, admiration, mutual security and collaboration.
“Our relationship with the Caribbean is very important. We believe the Caribbean is our third border and we need to work closely with countries in the Caribbean to support one another in the fight against crime, particularly when it comes to drug interdiction and money laundering,” she said.
According to the Ambassador, the United States has reduced immensely the amount of money it is puts into direct assistance.
“We are creating a lot of programmes where we provide training, equipment like these,” she said. “We do things where we try to create sustainability, create reforms,” Ambassador Taglialatela added.