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St Lucia continues to nosedive

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Following 25 days of perceived calm in a lawless country, with no record of homicides that “the media failed to acknowledge” and “ the political brass seems to require credit for,” the security apparatus of Saint Lucia continues to be in abeyance, unable to understand the rudiments of safety, national security, communication and policy.

“There has not been any homicide in the country,” prime minister and minister for national security, Philip J Pierre said, Monday November 20. “The last homicide was 25 days ago. It’s not a good record, but I want to congratulate the police, (RSLPF),” he said.

The prime minister’s observation did not go unanswered. Days later, two bodies were recovered in the seawaters of Gros Islet and Laborie. Friday, November 24, Vieux Fort recorded another homicide. November 26, a chopping incident in Bexon. November 26, a 50-year-old American National was recovered from an apparent drowning in the waters of Soufriere. November 28, police were at the location of another homicide in Ti Rocher, Castries.

Time will Tell November 25, 2023 At 8:41 am

“ Well, it’s never a dull day in beautiful Saint Lucia. I took the PM’s comment with a huge grain of salt because yes we didn’t have any homicides in 25 days but there were over 10 attempts during that same period. Check St Jude and OKEU to ascertain the number of persons during these 25 days that were fighting for their lives due to stabbings and gunshot injuries. I will continue to lament that providing the police with more vehicles is not the solution. This is so 1985, and the PM needs to come out from under his rock and face reality.”

Crime in Saint Lucia is “facilitated by politicians, businessmen, and government ministers” the challenge continues, in the absence of a new strategy.

“The fight against crime is ever so challenging,” said police Commissioner Cruscita Descartes-Pelius, Tuesday, at the launch of the Crime Hotline App developed by a police officer. “… we need to be proactive as it relates to how we deal with information received,” she explained. “In the use of technology, we are creating a culture of security and awareness. We beg of you to use this app. It will make a great change,” Descartes-Pelius stated amid a record surge in homicides, lawlessness and gun violence in Saint Lucia.

The political noise surrounding violence and lawlessness in Saint Lucia is bewildering at a staggering record of “73” depending on who is counting.

Minister for the public service, home affairs, labour and gender affairs Dr Virginia Albert Poyotte, declared war on violence, at the launch of the Know Your Rights campaign, a nationwide initiative aimed at addressing and combatting gender-based violence.

“The murders and everything we hear in our country, the Saint Lucian people can stop it. It is not about the police; it is about us, and we have to work together to make our country a peaceful place for everybody,” she declared.

The fortunes to step from the abyss is in serious trouble.  It’s not hard to see why given what happens in the Parliament of Saint Lucia. The government’s constant attempts to communicate are not in keeping with democratic norms. Their actions and policies are not collaborative.

The struggle to afford essentials, even those who can afford is the equivalence of secret deals and secret meetings, happening in broad daylight by ministers of government. The insult lies in their confession at the expense of the taxpayers and voters.

Compromising infrastructural development into a silo of wants to seemingly protect diminishing returns and to politically compromise the greater good is a “dirty deal.”

Then, what can be said, when others partake in unsavoury activities, lawlessness and crime, as manifested in Saint Lucia, today?

People can’t afford groceries at the supermarket and/or the Castries market. People can’t afford fuel. Electricity and water are being cut off. Interest rates are on the increase and people are terrified of economic improvement.

The government didn’t create this inflation crisis, however, the cost-of-living “imported inflation” is getting worse.

Inequality has reached a crisis point. There are two Saint Lucia’s. And regardless, the government mantra of “putting people first” and fixing the economy is expressingly disappointing.

The underground economy is the most attractive and viable that most will not talk about – drug trafficking – prostitution – corruption –  and dirty deals.

Healthcare and the housing market are non-existent. The road network and infrastructure are deplorable.

The debt load continues, on and off the books, below the line and using creative means. Increasingly, the system of governance is broken with weaker growth prospects making public finances management difficult to produce equilibrium and counterbalance.

With the demographics of Saint Lucia rapidly changing, it’s not clear who is going to benefit from the fortunes and misfortunes as Saint Lucia continues to nosedive.

The fortunes of democracy and the media have certainly come under scrutiny, amid decline and not acting in the interest of the government and the ruling party.

“It is this presiding officer who has a history of defending freedom of the press,” said the speaker of the House of Assembly, Claudius Francis, as he warned against chaos in the parliament, declaring that he would not allow it, threatening to turn off live coverage.

The speaker’s relevant and legal authority lies in the Standing Orders and the Privileges Act. He also has the authority to check his own sense of reality while attempting to flex his speakership muscles. And, should this be his only muscle left, his ruling to continue the live broadcast of parliament is appropriate, assuming he can maintain his aptitude. 

“There are some purists who pretend that the parliament ought to be a church. The parliament is not a church. You know where I stand on that,” prime minister Pierre, continued, “I think we have a good parliament where guys behave very well, but as I said, I always defer to the rules of the speaker.”

The reflection of parliament to worthless bewilderments in comments of racism and the blame game, relevance to the governance of Saint Lucia has drawn parallels to the current nosedive in civility, and the untold lawlessness in the country.

“Look, where we are today after 44 years of independence,” said a regional consultant. “ With 50 percent of the populace living in poverty. The entrenched two-party system is compromising – chopping, dealing, recommending laws, and acting indifferent–to their own pursuits.”

There are nuanced arguments for and against the youth, the diaspora participation, and new entrants in the social and economic development of Saint Lucia. Most would also note, attempts to neutralise their respective thinking, associations and precepts.

In a request for comment by Caribbean News Global (CNG), the regional economist said:

“The danger to our democracy has lost its purpose in everything and the courage of leadership is selective, and a very low bar indeed has been set for Saint Lucia. I think the continuation in this direction is problematic.” He continued: “Mendacity is a characteristic trait that has defined the duopoly both in and out of power in the politics of convenience, practised in Saint Lucia. There are good reasons for change, to a better framework of social and intellectual benefits for the common good of citizens and the nation.”

And to put it quite clearly, advised: “Tinker around the edges of social, economic and government reform is not productive. Incrementalism isn’t a solution to record crime (73), deprivation and favouritism. Saint Lucians are increasingly frustrated with safety, national security concerns, the affordability of essentials (food, clothing, water, shelter, motorable roads, healthcare) and an uncertain socio-economic ethos void of mendacity, there is little room to pivot ‘symptoms of insignificant’ to avoid being a one-term government.”




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