Thursday, June 03, 2010

Politicians got us into this mess in the first place: Part 2

Ever wondered about the impact on police morale—to say nothing of the general populace? Not only had our commissioner been painted in the worst way, we were also being told that only imported British cops were good enough to impact crime in Saint Lucia, contrary evidence notwithstanding, and that only the British cops were worthy of our trust.

Ever wondered about the impact on police morale when a certain prime minister, instead of threatening shock and awe, effectively went down on his knees and pleaded with criminals in his crime-infested constituency to “please give the people a break for Christmas!?” Now imagine the press releases to Newsspin if the current prime minister were to down on his knees before the Castries East gunslingers. I mean, consider the price he paid when he played a little leapfrog with Wyclef Jean!

If you’re wondering what happened to the institutional memory and knowledge acquired by Broughton and Company, wonder no more, dear concerned St Lucian. They took it with them when they returned to the UK, Broughton a hundred pounds fatter than when he first landed here—and much richer.

The blackened local commissioner and his officers returned to what was now effectively a new force, by which I mean a force of strangers, most of them recently graduated recruits, the older cops having retired almost en masse. So now the callously disgraced police chief was starting from scratch, with a force of beginners, their attitude to their boss close to contemptuous—with nothing on the files to update them.

If there is a silver lining in the current black cloud over Jamaica, it is that the fusion between politicians and crime has been exposed as never before. As I write, the news is that US authorities have in their possession tapes of intercepted phone calls to and from “the world’s most dangerous drug baron and gun runner” that could prove devastating to leading members of the Jamaica government. Yes, yes, imagine that!

Here at home the government appears hamstrung as it faces its own looming Armageddon. There have been meetings with the police, there has been talk and more talk, even as the gunfights at Coke-A Corral continue almost unabated. Will the government discover the courage to take action against the young criminals who seem to have no respect for life, including their own? Is the country ready to face the possible consequent bloodbath?

The local opposition, like their counterparts in Jamaica and the other Caribbean territories plagued by murderous gangs, are busily prospecting in the chaos, evidently oblivious of the expressed disgust of their respective populations, seemingly unaware that what they seek is fools’ gold.

More and more Saint Lucians are saying out loud that the worst enablers of crime and unrest are the politicians on both sides of the House who are demonstrably interested only in holding on to or assuming office.

What to do? This week, Philip J Pierre, conceivably the SLP’s shadow security minister, weighed in with ten recommendations to the prime minister. According to Pierre, the parliamentary representative for Castries East where most of the recent slaughters have taken place, he was moved to speak out, not to score political points but for the deafening cries to his party. Cries from citizens from all walks of life; cries from the business community; cries from the social and religious community, leaders of business, hotel owners and tourism industry workers. Yeah, right!

Presumably, Monsignor Anthony was not among the criers to the opposition. At the funeral of Tobias last Saturday, the church leader took the opportunity to excoriate from his pulpit the politicians on both sides of parliament whose contributions over several years have placed us where we are today.

“We have waited for a coordinated approach and a defined plan from the King administration to fight crime,” said Pierre. Plan? What is all this latest noise about a crime-fighting plan. For all I can see, the mistake of this current government is that it has placed its faith in the plan of which the opposition now boasts—a failed plan, considering the level of crime in Saint Lucia when the government left office in 2006.

The former government deserves high praise for building the Bordelais facility, despite every discouragement from the then opposition. But today, indeed, even before the Labour government left office, Bordelais was not only bursting at the seams but it had also developed a reputation hardly in keeping with a crime-free environment—or a successful anti-crime plan.

 Reproduced from

No comments: