Photo above: St. Lucia Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony. Photo credit: The Commonwealth.
CASTRIES St. Lucia, Mar. 21, (CMC) – Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, has accused the last United Workers Party (UWP) administration of being “responsible for the so-called extra judicial killings” that have led the United States to impose sanctions on the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
Addressing a public meeting of his ruling St. Lucia Party (SLP) here, last night, Anthony said, that the UWP leader, Allen Chastanet, was part of the government that gave the green light to Operation Restore Confidence, resulting in 12 people being shot and killed by police, between 2010-11, at the height of rising criminal activity here.
In 2013, the St. Lucia government enlisted the help of the Jamaican police to investigate the RSLPF. This came on the heels of the United States withdrawing security-related assistance, after claims of human rights violations.
In August 2013, the United States suspended all forms of assistance to the RSLPF, citing allegations of serious human rights violations.
“The Department of State has made a policy decision to withdraw training and material assistance to the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, due to credible allegations of gross human rights violations,” the US State Department said, in a statement then.
As a result, Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, was prevented from travelling to the US to represent the Regional Security Service (RSS) at a conference of Black Police Chiefs.
Anthony told party supporters, on Sunday night, he had never “given the police instructions to cut down St. Lucians” and accused the UWP of having brought the reputation of the island to “rock bottom”.
“For the first time in the history of St. Lucia, we had a government that did something that caused the US to put sanctions on our police force. They are the ones who initiated Operation Restore Confidence. They are the ones responsible for the so-called extra judicial killings,” he said.
Earlier this year, Washington, in an unusually forthright public statement, called on the St. Lucia government to ensure the rule of law is upheld.
The statement noted, that in 2014, the government of St. Lucia invited the Caribbean Community’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to conduct an investigation into allegations that members of the RSLPF committed extra-judicial killings.
“Unfortunately, progress on pursuing justice in these killings halted after the report’s issuance in March 2015. Despite the significance of the IMPACS report for human rights, national security concerns, and St. Lucia’s international reputation, the government of St. Lucia has made no meaningful progress towards criminal prosecution in 10 months,” the statement read.
The embassy added, that it is concerned that four years have passed since these allegations of human rights violations first surfaced and due process is yet to be served.