By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the community of Coolie Town witnessed a mass shooting, at a function of some kind within confinement hours of COVID-19 protocols. Three persons died and five injured, including a police officer. Dead are Versia Alexander, 46 of China Town, Marigot; Tamara Edmund, 27, of Barre Denis and Deejay Kervin Joseph of Fond Mange. In addition, there was a “police shooting” in Dennery and gunplay in Gros – Islet over the weekend, clogging the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) deficiency in crime management, personnel, tactical and intelligence response, among other facets.
The RSLPF news conference Monday, February 14, said nothing substance or relevant outside the conclusion that St Lucia police are out of their wits and wanting in many aspects.
For example, relevant or the “police shooting” in Dennery, and reported by local media, ACP George Nicholas told the news conference:
“I don’t think we should look at this incident as a police shooting. It could have happened to anybody. The person involved just happened to be a police officer. It was not a case where he responded to a particular incident and then he had an engagement with a perpetrator. It was a case where he was in his private home, sleeping in his bed when he went to investigate a noise, so this should not be associated with a police killing.”
The resulting explanation is no doubt extraordinary, according to the local press report. Nicholas asserted that there seems to be a notion that police are either reluctant or unwilling to react or use force when necessary.
“Obviously, that is not the case. So if people are of the view that the police are reluctant, obviously they need to think again. We are not reluctant. We sometimes exercise restraint but obviously, there’s a limit to every restraint. So we will react and react appropriately when faced with situations that warrant our reaction,” he stated.
Last week a display of gunfire rang out in the Town of Soufriere, contributing to an environment of peril out of the reach of a debunked RSLPF.
Last November, the Savannes in Vieux Fort was a war zone with “so-called gangs and disobedient youngsters ” known to many but presumably, not law enforcement – claiming and defending their territory with an “Afghanistan” type display of fire-power, nothing the police can match.
To add insult to injury, last December, the RSLPF conducted a said operation using approximately 100 plus police officers who came up empty-handed. It pontificates that the “so-called gangs” have informants and presumable an intelligence base to rival the RSLPF.
But to the credit of the RSLPF on this occasion, it was reported that “ the delegation spoke with key stakeholders to chart a sustainable policing strategy to quell the crime situation. And they promised to maintain an increased police presence in key areas.”
Last April, the RSLPF seized a large quantity of drugs, found in a container of supplies in the north of the island. As with the norm, investigations continues.
“I would say that we had investigations and I am certain that persons moved based on intelligence received,” said Police Commissioner Milton Desir. “As you know, it was not drugs found on a plantation or at somebody’s home. This is a container that came from far – they had stops; they had transshipments, so it involved a lot of investigation,” Desir explained unsatisfactorily.
Last year was a record year for crime on the island reporting 74 homicides. Two months into 2022, there are already eleven homicides, inclusive of at least two “police shootings”, [ however that would be subject to ACP George Nicholas interpretation, the incident in Belmont, Dennery on Saturday in which a senior cop fatally shot a man should not be viewed as a police killing] does little to improve and /or solve the situation that “ St Lucia is still subject to the Leahy Law.”
Saint Lucia’s crime peril is predominately a drug problem, tainted by social and economic facets to fast cash and the thuggish lifestyle, supported by a major transhipment point from Central and Latin America. This is further compounded by the Great Triangle – Martinique ( which is essentially Europe in the Caribbean) St Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia, accessible to major international markets.
The drug trade is camouflaged within the fishing industry, and substituted with what is termed human traffic; but is essentially illegal trade between the three islands, via numerous unmanned and well-known outlets to all and sundry.
The triangle of islands are at a maximum of 45 minutes apart via a half-decent speed boat, to which the assets of the RSLPF can only watch the sea waves pass them by. And where luck depends on who upon landing is not happy, may kiss and tell, or snitch to law enforcement. Perhaps a drug bust may follow, at the peril of more violence.
It has been previously explained, Crime is big business in Saint Lucia:
“Crime is now big business in Saint Lucia, there are persons who are known hitmen in Saint Lucia and these guys will not hesitate, if they get the right amount of money, to put a hit on you.”
Read more here.
To further understand the deficiency and the dysfunctional apparatus of the RSLPF, a letter to the editor published June 2020 reads – St Lucia’s acting police commissioner should be fired and the RSLPF disbanded. [Now Commissioner of Police]
The letter said:
“To reiterate, it is my view that the RSLPF must be disbanded in much that same as Minneapolis disbanded its police department seven years ago.”
“I must say, the agents of law and order in Saint Lucia are appalling,” concluded the letter.
Fast forward to Sunday, February 13 and the RSLPF news conference on Monday, February 14, 2022, deputy police commissioner Wayne Charlery, plausible understanding to disbelieve by many submitted “there’s a plan to prevent any further escalation in gun violence,” he persisted.
“We are now relying heavily on the Marigot Community to give us the necessary support so that, we can restore a semblance of a safe community in Marigot by limiting the ability of the criminals to operate and the opportunities available to them,” Charlery attempted to explain to the best of his ability.
Meanwhile, police commissioner Milton Desir, told the news conference Monday:
“We are aware of the continued incidents of violence and thus far we have been able to recover 13 illegal firearms and charged persons in connection with the seizures.”
And according to the hierarchy of the RSLPF and reported on February 3:
“What may have been different is that lately more police officers have been attired in civilian wear, as they awaited the arrival of their new batch of uniforms,” including a fleet of new vehicles that are to arrive on island soon.
To be frank, said, a resource:
“ The hierarchy of the RSLPF are out of their wits,” hitherto, “the dysfunctional RSLPF remains in peril as a short-handed force, with a poor human resource component, intelligence, enforcement and communication and of no match to the elements playing hide and seek, police and crooks in the streets of Saint Lucia.”
“The reality remains – the RSLPF – should be stripped to a constabulary police service,” the intelligence resource recommended.
** “Constables work in partnership on a day-to-day basis with local communities, stakeholders and colleagues in order to promote law and order, reduce the fear of crime, provide reassurance and build confidence to improve the quality of life for citizens.”