When politics trumps national security in St Lucia

By: Melanius Alphonse

Listening to the discussions surrounding important issues on island concludes a devastating period of obsession with egotism and rhetorical onslaught to defend both government and political leaders that are inept in the execution of basic management fundamentals.
Daily, the focus is on political rhetoric and the poker game of whose up and who’s down. And career politicians, in and out of government, who don’t understand the business and economic realities facing the country, are constantly exposed.
As the sun shines, government misunderstanding of the level of fiscal irresponsibility is made worse by the exploits of the vacuum in national security, making dumb decisions and passing stupid laws at the expense of the people and the future economic viability of Saint Lucia.

This is uncomfortable in the circumstances, with government approval last Tuesday of citizenship by investment which leader of government business and minister for legal affairs, home affairs and national security, Sen. Hon. Victor Phillip La Corbiniere said “will boost Saint Lucia’s economy.”
While stating that “the government should remain vigilant with regards to the citizenship by investment program, especially within a climate of constantly evolving regional and global trends,” further stating that “Perhaps a standing committee of CARICOM to keep this matter under constant examination and to be able to keep the government properly advised on developments taking place in this area, and how we need to be proactive in addressing some of these issues.”
The most recent examples playing out in the courts, law enforcement and the public service articulate the issues facing the nation; and impact the relevance to the changing times that requires both regime change and the subsequent collective response to the new economic reality.

With time, the aftermath of the IMPACS report, though not disclosed in full, is a hot mess of dying consequences on the home front.
There is information that the IMPACS report is the most plausible cause of another police officer being denied travel to the United States last week, notwithstanding the scrutiny of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) latest promotions on August 3, 2015, of 42 officers attaining promotion; 27 were promoted from constable to corporal, 11 from corporal to sergeant, and four from sergeant to inspector.
Never before has a junior ranked police officer publicly parades his/association’s dissenting voice in print and electronic media, in this case, president of the police welfare association Camron Laure, chastising acting commissioner of police, Errol Alexander, on matters surrounding the Soufriere police station, promotions; transfers; special police constables and senior constables, which warranted an equally public response.
With all that is known and unknown, that’s a harrowing exercise of what is not needed, contributing to the theory that officers are their own adversary!
In light of two recent gruesome homicides of 59-year old Samdai Fraser and 32-year-old Yanna Auguste, and increased rape cases against women, minister for health, wellness, human services and gender relations, Alvina Reynolds, said she is disturbed by the level of violence perpetrated against women across Saint Lucia and has called for improved security to reduce the chances of this happening again.
“We have to continue to teach our men to respect women, respect life and respect each other. Saint Lucian men and boys needs to be thought how to respect women and human life. I am saying to mothers and fathers, that we have created some monsters in this country and these chickens are coming home to roost.” ~ Alvina Reynolds
Listening to Alvina Reynolds’ sudden awakening refreshed my memory of the article: The moral outcry for justice in St Lucia, August 11 2014.
“Regrettably, the deaf ears of Dr Kenny Anthony and Hon Victor La Corbiniere have taken precedence. Their minds are elsewhere, burning jet fuel flying around the world, rather than in the performance of their key responsibility of keeping citizens of this country safe.
“This brings me to the most astonishing statistic of all – the number of unsolved murders in Saint Lucia – recently reported to be 400. This is shocking and morally unacceptable in a population of 165,595.
“This ratio would equate to some 140,000 unsolved murders in Britain – something that would produce public outrage if there were a total of 140,000 murders in recent years, let alone unsolved ones. In fact, in the UK in 2007, concern was voiced that there had been 564 unsolved murders across the country in the previous ten years – twice as many as in the previous decade.

“Where is the outrage in Saint Lucia? After all, with some 70% (or approximately 116,000) of the population of Saint Lucia being adults, this means that, statistically, if you have 400 adult friends, or if you attend an event with just 400 people, one of them could be an undetected murderer walking around free.”
The intense level of unlawful activities has become more frequent and bold. The sound of gunfire has intensified in core circuits. As I write, the 14th homicide was recorded.
On July 26, gunshots were fired on the Richfond Police Station in Dennery in an early-morning attack. No injuries and no arrest were reported.
In separate incidents, missiles were reportedly thrown at police officers on patrol on Chaussee Road in the city of Castries; and during the Carnival celebrations several young men confronted a police constable.
There is currently a state of unfamiliarity outside the mainstream. A sobering development several allude to, following Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony’s televised address, A Distressing Issue to Confront, March 8, 2015, that’s impacting substantially the social sector, the economy, governance, foreign policy and national security.
And too often, the absence of good managers, articulate and substantive, has left Saint Lucia in abeyance, out to dry, while criminals and unpleasant characters are fighting back a symbolic political system and severely distressed judicial system.
However, consider public service minister Dr James Fletcher’s comments on the way commissioner of police, Vernon Francois, was dealt with by the Public Service Commission (PSC), to take more required vacation, serving clichés as “unavoidable” “I think some of it is justifiable,” “awkward… noting that there were circumstances that made the situation unusual.”
“I think in the best of times it would not have been handled this way, but there are peculiar circumstances that have warranted this approach. We are not happy with the way it has happened, but it is something that is unavoidable under the current circumstances”. ~ Dr James Fletcher
For certain, I cannot tell if he is serious about solving the issue and the difference between someone talking about serious policy issues or talking points of protectionism.
George Eliot wrote over a hundred years ago, “This is the bitterness of all, to wear the yoke of our own wrongdoing.”
Unless convinced otherwise, government is leading backwards, comfortable in drinking their own bathwater. A failed solution, in the political art form, that drives a love affair with patriots of convenience and false choices.

Two paths stand out to compound the problem. Many perceive the lack of bold leadership to control the situation has easily repealed the ideology and structure needed to squash leaks and day-to-day squabbles. And transparency and accountability to decision making, to forge long-term solutions are superficial, thus eroding public trust – more than ever before.
Authentic leadership is urgently needed to focus on the needs of Saint Lucia’s foreign policy, the economy and national security. It is obvious that conventional politics has to change from the need to service political party’s confine ideology needs and egocentric deep end.
The proposition that political leaders and government are historically blind and have not learned anything from the past is dangerous. And it is pointless to skirt the facts that there is turmoil on many fronts and the need for an intelligent turn to resolve national issues.
For leadership (public, private and political) to gain public trust, it must empower people and improve lives, thus helping to build a strong democracy, with enhanced intelligence, in defence of freedom and liberty from internal and external threats.
In fact, it would be useful for a patriotic and serious people to take matters into our own hands, to change the prospective and fuel growth and prosperity for Saint Lucia.
This would be a vital change to Saint Lucia’s state of affairs in exchange of a high risk government that has no room for rational positions on practical issues. And no plans to save the country from a moratorium on our values and history many envisage on the horizon.
The situation of lack of leadership, governance and law and order is intolerable. And if not corrected with a sense of urgency is sure to destabilize the country, leading to isolation in the global marketplace.

What’s the fear over IMPACS investigation?
Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) www.lpmstlucia.com critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at malphonse@rogers.com

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