By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) has condemned what it described as the “continued blame game tactic” that Prime Mister Dr Kenny Anthony used in his government’s defence in response to the decision by the United States to prohibit members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from attending security-related training funded by the US.
According to the LPM leader Therold Prudent, Anthony refuses to take responsibility for his own government’s response to the alleged “extra-judicial killings” committed by an “ad hoc” group of officers within the police force.
“Governance is about taking full responsibility and correcting the preserved mistakes and awful practices of previous administrations. As the leader of our nation, coupled with his profession as an attorney, Anthony should have immediately dealt with this grave issue, knowing full well, there are dire consequences for ignoring human rights abuses,” Prudent added.
The LPM noted one particular point in the prime minister’s address to the nation on Tuesday evening, when he (Anthony) stated: “Yesterday, I was also advised that the United States has gone one step further and suspended all assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.”
This suspension could have been prompted by Anthony’s refusal to act after eighteen months in office, Prudent pointed out.
“Also, the minimal attention paid to those human rights violations (by his government), is just as disappointing to US authorities as the [previous United Workers Party administration’s] unsatisfactory response to the crime problem on the island,” he said.
Having noted the failed approach of the current St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration to dealing with this serious human rights issue, the LPM said it continues to be disturbed by some of the strategies Anthony has pursued to solve this problem.
According to Prudent, “How can the prime minister invite the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to investigate the conduct surrounding the alleged extra-judicial killings when some CARICOM countries have their own issues that potentially violate the ’Leahy Law’?”
An effective step to dealing with this crisis would be to invite an independent investigative unit from Canada or Europe, where a more thorough investigation consistent with international investigative and reporting standards can be expected, the LPM suggested.
The LPM added that it recalled occasions when some local organizations and professionals were ridiculed for attempting to promote human rights laws in all facets of daily activities on the island – initiatives that would have paved the way for a more transparent and accountable government today.
Referring to his earlier message to Taiwan’s current president, Ma Ying-jeou, requesting that former Taiwan president Chen Shui-Bian be provided medical parole – a decision that would meet human rights standards — Prudent again emphasized the need for governments seriously to consider human rights laws.
He said, “As a region, we cannot continue to operate in a bubble with outstretched arms for foreign aid. We cannot continue to arm ourselves with the narrow mindedness of local politics with all of its self-righteousness. And, we cannot continue to ignore the personal sufferings of citizens locally and in distant lands, which daily pay the ultimate price for our chronic dependence on foreign aid.”