It was just last week that I called out Guy Mayers, Allen Chastanet’s United Workers Party (UWP) and the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) as cryptic lines of code that Saint Lucians can best do without, as they remain unashamed in bashing the United States government with a sagging tongue, a toothless mouth and begging hands.
While doing some follow up reading on the weekend, since I have more time than money, I came across world news in both hard copy and the online version of the Wall Street Journal captioned: US House Passes Bill to Penalize Venezuela. “The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to penalize Venezuelan government officials found to violate human rights in that country's crackdown on a protest movement, ratcheting up pressure on President Nicolás Maduro's beleaguered government.”
In short it reads: “The bill calls for President Barack Obama to draw up a list of Venezuelan officials who are alleged to have violated human rights, freeze any assets they might have in the US, and bar them from entering the country by either withdrawing or denying visas. A State Department spokeswoman on Wednesday said that while sanctions weren't ‘off the table’, they shouldn't interfere with the larger goals of Venezuela returning to a full democracy and observance of human rights.
"’Today's vote shows that the abuses the Maduro regime has committed against the Venezuelan people will not go unanswered,’ said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, who drafted the legislation. In the Senate, Sen. Marco Rubo a Florida Republican, has prepared a list of about two-dozen Venezuelan military and government officials who are possible targets for the sanctions, among them Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela's attorney general, as well as the National Guard head of operations in Caracas, Gen. Manuel Quevedo.”
Are the authorities in Saint Lucia concerned? Probably not, since they may very well have sealed their fate in times past, and continue to pile on the list with every passing week. Last week, the evening news was littered with news on security, crime and human rights concerns.
The weekend newspapers actually are much of the same with news on justice for remands, figures galore, and even editorials. But none could read like the “the snakes among us” who don’t want the truth to be told when 12 Saint Lucians were killed by local police between the period of 2010 and 2011. Anyway good luck, the State Department is up to date on that matter, even as the authorities in Saint Lucia and others seem not to care that Saint Lucia is in the same company as Venezuela in establishing a reputation for human rights violations and even serious concerns about the health services over unexplained deaths at government controlled hospitals. Does this sound familiar elsewhere?
The Minister for Legal Affairs and Internal Security Victor Phillip La Corbiniere and the Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations Alvina Reynolds are not perturbed by the criticisms leveled by detractors. Their selective silence – as cool and easy as the wind blows – tells it all. Victor Phillip La Corbiniere says the statistics in all the critical areas have gone down. Some have gone up but in the critical areas they have all gone down, even the murders -- we were still able to keep murders down at the end of last year than the year before. We have been able to do a number of things to ensure that we prepare the police force to where it should be.
You can’t fool me, La Corbiniere, to believe that the investigation (12 Saint Lucians were killed by local police between the period of 2010 and 2011) was necessary, not for the Americans but for Saint Lucians, resulting in the United States blacklisting Saint Lucia as a country that does not respect the rights of humans. Yes, the rights of humans is serious stuff even in Saint Lucia where everything is Irie man, with no answers for the country’s dismal penal system, where prison cells hold three times the numbers they were designed to accommodate.
Citizens cry out daily, asking how can the authorities sleep at nights when 639 inmates are at the Bordelais Correctional Facility that was built to house 500 inmates. Currently 399 (comprising 387 men and 12 women) as against 240 convicts (237 men and 3 women) and on remand, 102, facing charges of either murder, manslaughter or causing death and 33 for attempted murder, grievous harm, and wounding. Thirty-eight were on remand for stealing, 43 for sexual offences and 20 on firearms/ammunition possession and 34 persons have been on remand for more than five years, including six for ten or more years, including two who have been incarcerated for 13 years. And one inmate who since 2001 is waiting to be tried for theft! That’s approximately 13 years, at a cost of approximately $19,000 a year on the taxpayers’ dime. Could the technocrats run that by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony -- that’s a pretty good saving to close the budget deficit.
Mary Francis is absolutely correct when she laments, “This is indeed travesty of justice and a living example of ‘justice delayed is justice denied to have people languishing in prison… forgotten... in the same conditions as convicted offenders.”
It is even more astonishing that a “well equipped forensic lab” lays idle and can’t positively identify human remains or lift a fingerprints on numerous stolen vehicles that were stripped to the chaise -- the latest happened last week -- to over 300 unsolved murders on an island of 238 square miles with a police force of 1,000 men/women.
Now, you and I know why La Corbiniere can’t fool me, or why the justice system and the police are not equipped to solve not even a petty theft. So what can they solve? But be on the list!
I guess no one was surprised when the president of the senate said on his radio program last Wednesday words to the effect that he will do whatever it takes to protect his daughter, (referring to the theft of a cell phone and knife attack on a St Joseph convent student last week after school in broad daylight at 3:30 pm,) and that includes “killing the bastard”.
Saint Lucia is not only at the crossroads with the Americans but actually with the world.