Vieux-Fort South: A case study in lawlessness

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Dr Kenny Anthony, Member of Parliament and Former Prime Minister, Police Commissioner Milton Desir, and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Philip Pierre
      • “…There will be no peace in Vieux-Fort South, …”
      • “ … Crime is big business in Saint Lucia and it is driven by people who are way up in the hierarchy of this country …”
      • “The crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers.”
      • Guns, bullets and hustlers – rival commodities – Food, Fuel and Fertilizer (FFF).

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Violent crime is consuming Vieux-Fort South and Saint Lucia, in what can be described as a case study in lawlessness. The result of this stems from decades of social neglect, political apathy, and economic starvation that has permitted unplanned business expansion and squatting on crown lands. The underground economy, in particular – the drug trade and money laundering have flourished. The fishing industry has provided cover for fishing, drug trafficking, legal and illegal trade within the triangle of Saint Lucia – St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Martinique.

Open secrets

The symbol of success and prestige is oftentimes laundered in business taking advantage of the urban sprawl of Vieux-Fort, Bexon and the Northern corridors of Saint Lucia.

The one-sided wealth is entangled in “legitimate businesses” that trade across large spectrums in the country, wittingly and/or unwittingly including car rentals, liquor stores, vegetable importers, security companies, construction companies, aspects of the tourism industry, inclusive of politicians’ and the need for campaign financing and personal favours.

Other aspects of this are visible in selective large homes and enclaves, expensive cars, lavish lifestyles and territorial claims, in a country that does not have one Fortune 500 company.

These are not state secrets or intelligence malfunctioning, except for the elected authorities, bureaucrats and the system of entrenched corruption in government and governance that thrive on the proceeds. The making of a narco-state.

The criminal justice system and reform are a major worry to crime leading to and throughout 2022, evidenced by the outburst of reprisal gun-related murders, the claim for turf and drug operations that have gone haywire. The social and economic segregation of young people contributes as well. These have rocked Vieux-Fort, Dennery, Bexon and Babonneau in particular, casting a long shadow on Saint Lucia.

The average age of the offenders and victims are troubling, hoovering between 21/25 years. This reflects the early involvement of the participants in the underground economy and the loss of an entire generation, albeit the claimed success of politicians political longevity.

Listen up: “ … Crime is big business in Saint Lucia and it is driven by people who are way up in the hierarchy of this country …”

Evil acts

The problem is deep and the culprits, as to how and why Saint Lucia arrived at this low ebb is fundamental to understanding this case study in lawlessness.

While some individuals who commit violent crimes are punished, the vast majority and “bosses” are hailed as heroes and models of success. Herein, prevention and mechanisms to battle crime, corruption, drug trafficking and human trafficking becomes a disturbing shift in the Saint Lucian culture.

A series of evil acts, violent shootings, rape and murder – any time of day and night – have shocked even the most conservative of minds. The videos and related stories are all too real. However, the authorities (social, religious, elected, and/or business elites are either afraid or comfortable to buttress the silent treatment – quite like a lamb – see no evil – hear no evil. Not even the homicide statistics, road fatality and relevant information is a matter of conversation, relative to recent years.

Poverty, inequality and a mindset of hopelessness fueled by successive administrations because of their failure to make the citizens of this country a priority, are at the core of the current wave of criminality sweeping this country.

The inability of successive administrations to adequately rein in crime, is testimony to a culture that has now inadvertently or otherwise normalized lawlessness and criminality. 

The crime situation also speaks to a serious lack of leadership, moral will and courage to stem this scourge of lawlessness and rising criminality.

The buck notwithstanding, stops with the government of the day!

Medieval history

Characteristic of the middle age, medieval history teaches what happens to a society that embraces lawlessness.

“[…] There will be no peace in Vieux-Fort South” uttered, Dr Kenny Anthony, member of parliament and former prime minister. “Feel our collective anger, understand that we will fight: We will fight you in the streets, in the courts, in our homes, in our communities.[…] ”

Matthew 23:27-28: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

2 Thessalonians 2:7: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”

Is it also plausible, that the characteristics of the sufferings of foreign invasion, civil wars and violent mobs – seven times British – seven times French, are a factor?

Saint Lucia’s crisis of crime and lawlessness is a case study into the fulfilment of Bible prophecy and man’s law.

What has changed?

Revealingly, Operation Restore Confidence (ORC) suggests that “the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers.” 

Dr Kenny Anthony, prime minister of Saint Lucia, Sunday, March 8, 2015, delivered a televised address entitled: “A Distressing Issue To Confront” based on the findings of a report by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), which has not been published, because “it could compromise investigations that were still taking place, and to protect witnesses,” and he called the report “extremely damning.”

Dr Anthony added: “We cannot continue in a situation where we are viewed as a pariah state by our partners in the fight against crime and lawlessness.”

Read more: ‘Gangster paradise’: Crime is big business in St Lucia, says national security minister

A lawless culture

The shift to a lawless culture is systematic of the guardians who failed to re-form the constitution (to date) and reposition a society immersed in the dependency syndrome. And for those that are old enough to remember – there was always the belief that the US would reoccupy Vieux-Fort – the old military base.

Perhaps the terrible curse and a brutish legacy is alive in the mortals of the living. And it has now become too dangerous to navigate the neighbourhoods of Vieux-Fort, Dennery, Bexon, and Babonneau.

The highways have become the pasture of thieves and murderers, playing hide and seek with associates and helpless police officers. Meanwhile, Saint Lucians wallow in the shadows of the mysteries of corruption, crime, the drug trade and accompanying lawlessness.

It’s about to get much worse

It is an open secret that Saint Lucia’s national security has been and is in peril. Ongoing domestic and international investigations are building momentum. Engagement of a special prosecutor can expect to run into shocking findings, darkening clouds on the horizon of successive governments.

St Lucia’s acting police commissioner should be fired and the RSLPF disbanded

A recent commentary by Denys Springer, ‘Hard Talk’, observed:

“The result of no action will without a doubt stimulate the level of crime which may get out of hand and control; more so, with a police force whose leaders or hierarchy are more political than should be.

“If our police force is weak and not organized then what we face is one where the rule of law necessary to guarantee the various liberties … inadequacy and indiscipline to maintain law and order, how long will our young men continue to take each other lives … we need to spruce up our police force and have a strategic plan.

National security per se is now overburdened by having people at the top … that has to be synchronized. Having two ministers running such an important ministry (part-time) will not flourish as it should.

“Prime Minister Philip Pierre in my view has enough on his plate (office of the prime minister – (OPM) minister for finance, economic development and the youth economy – national security) at this juncture and therefore, he cannot be over-burdened.” 

I believe a special minister for national security and ministry must be appointed and in that case, as I have mentioned before, a mini cabinet reshuffle is now needed and necessary.”

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