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An open letter to Dr Kenny Anthony Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
Published on January 24, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Therold Prudent
Lucian People’s Movement (LPM)
Marie Therese Street
Gros Islet

Hon. Dr Kenny Anthony
Prime Minister’s Office
5th Floor, Greaham Louisy Administration Building
Waterfront, Castries

Dear Dr Anthony,

The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) wishes to raise with you in this public forum the many difficult and troubling situations locally and internationally that are currently crippling Saint Lucia.

It should go without saying that the role of government centers on the effective provision, operation and management of national security; social services; economic development; effective governance oversight; protection of the public interest; equitable taxation; and good public administration in accordance with the rule of law, which create the conditions for our citizens to make the most of their resilient character.

As the leader of our government, drawing on your legal background and extensive experience in elected office, you must know full well the dire consequences of continuing to ignore legislative and economic reform, social justice issues and human rights abuses.

In light of this, the LPM calls on you to place the people of Saint Lucia ahead of narrow partisan interests and to implement without delay a bi-partisan approach to execute the following reforms, through legislative and other appropriate means, for the promotion of democracy, citizen security and economic advancement.

The LPM, on behalf of our country and its people, demands the following:

1. Following the suspension by the United States of all assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force as a result of unresolved issues, including alleged human rights abuses, an immediate, effective and independent review of all national security and law enforcement agencies must be conducted. If the senior leadership of such agencies is ineffective, corrupt or incompetent, they must be replaced forthwith.

2. Specifically, such review must, of necessity, involve a full independent investigation of the entire Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from the top down and the enactment of any necessary legislation to deal with incompetence, corruption, abuse of power or other wrongdoing, in order to provide a reliable top notch force that serves and protects our country and its citizens effectively and efficiently. Simply put, the first step in any serious anti-crime initiative must first involve the removal of incompetent and/or corrupt officers from the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. Unless this is done we can never achieve the levels of law and order we desire and the nation deserves.

3. Along with this, police officers must be equipped with the necessary resources to eradicate criminal activity on the island, including appropriate training to ensure the highest level of professional conduct by police officers and improve investigative and reporting standards.

4. The current situation furthermore requires a speedy, transparent and public resolution of the numerous outstanding Coroners inquests, police shootings and investigations into other alleged abuses by police.

5. We reiterate our previous call for a National Consultation on Crime and the enactment of tougher legislation to offer a measure of hope to a nation battered by all sorts of criminal activities. The outside world is no longer oblivious to these serious issues and it is time to end the political hypocrisy.

6. If the government of Saint Lucia remains adamant about taking the country into the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), it must put the question directly to the people of Saint Lucia, if not by separate referendum, by attaching the question of adopting the CCJ to the ballot at the next general elections.

7. We call for a full review of the Customs and Excise departments, immigration and port security, and other statutory bodies that are responsible for the island’s borders and preventing the importation of contraband, including drugs and guns.

8. We recognize the need for a modern public service and we therefore call for speedy progress with public service reform and modernization, to promote the delivery of efficient government services and the elimination of excessive bureaucracy and red tape.

9. Effective legal, economic and social justice management is an acute requirement. Therefore, our island will be better served if government ministries were placed in the hands of trained professionals with the knowledge and skills to pursue a non-partisan and focused national policy on trade agreements, development issues and investments, to bring jobs and other opportunities to our shores.

10. We call for the Cabinet to be reduced to a maximum of nine ministers and a recall of nonperforming embassies and diplomats that consume scarce public funds in the region of EC$30 million annually.

11. Saint Lucia’s membership of the ALBA regional bloc must be revisited in the light of its practical rather than ideological benefits compared to its political, foreign policy and other disadvantages that potentially serve to undermine our economic agenda and national progress. What concrete assistance have we received, for example, as a result of our membership of ALBA following the recent “Christmas storm”?

12. After 14 years, the people of Saint Lucia are still none the wiser in relation to the contractual and legal implications of the RSM matter. We therefore call for a full independent enquiry into the circumstances of the signing of the contract in question and its current implications for the country.

13. One civil action by the Attorney General’s Chambers against one former minister in the previous government (now opposition) for alleged breach of fiduciary duties and misfeasance is not enough and, by itself, simply raises suspicions of purely political motives. We call for the full force of the law to be applied to all persons and corporate entities regardless of political affiliation that have committed crimes against the state, and to strengthen the anti-corruption legislation.

14. It is critical for any government and especially its cabinet of ministers to be above reproach. We therefore call for a complete background check and disclosure in relation to Cabinet ministers and others in high government positions that may have a history of alleged criminal activity (whether or not actually convicted), or attempted fraud, or that have known history of financial irresponsibility and/or hidden criminal records.

15. Enhance and reform the performance of our criminal and civil justice system, including the setting up or revitalisation of separate courts for family matters, small claims and commercial matters, so that it functions efficiently and effectively, devoid of bias and political manipulation, including the provision of legal aid assistance and resources for our citizens in their pursuit of timely legal remedies. This would include appropriate and effective provisions for the transition of criminal deportees and previously incarcerated individuals back into the community as productive members of society.

16. Finally, we call for the immediate implementation of specific and assertive law enforcement and anti-crime measures:

(a) Deal with the issue of murder and/or gang warfare in the specific communities in which they are happening by policing these areas to the point where entry and exit is restricted and scrutinised with metal detectors and drug sniffer dogs in order to prevent and discourage the movement of firearms and narcotics, and to confine and contain the violence within a manageable area until each area could be considered effectively crime free.

(b) Prepare for the migration of the criminal element to other areas once these hotspots are isolated and contained, and identify the key players and follow and contain them wherever they go, so that anywhere a territory is claimed and similar criminality erupts, the same techniques be employed again to suppress and diffuse, with the goal of creating overlapping crime free zones until the entire nation is crime free.

(c) Pay special attention to the flow of guns into the country by monitoring and controlling all vessels and water craft attempting to approach our shores. Landings should be restricted to registered ports complete with Customs officials to police what is being brought into the country. No craft should be allowed to traverse open water and then come ashore without first being inspected for contraband.

(d) Implement a zero tolerance policy on the possession of illegal handguns, with the creation of a gun court in which all offenders could be quickly tried and sentenced if convicted.

(e) Strip all inbound cargo containers for detailed inspection of the contents as an essential effort in stopping the flow of guns and drugs into the country.

(f) Provide incentives to business and public transportation vehicle owners to install surveillance cameras.

We acknowledge that many of the foregoing points may be considered draconian but we believe that desperate times call for desperate measures to fix the mess that Saint Lucia is currently in.

The people of Saint Lucia must not suffer any longer as a result of the habitual placing of narrow partisan interests over what is best for our country. The nation must be inspired by decisive and effective action, along with the creation of a national consensus free of partisan rancour aimed at dealing once and for all with Saint Lucia's worsening problems.

Sincerely,

Therold Prudent
Political Leader
Lucian People’s Movement (LPM)
 
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