The absurdity of the interpretation and application of the laws of Saint Lucia and the activities of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) Sunday, May 14 during a “State of Emergency’ under the express authority of the prime minister of Saint Lucia, is unjust, crude and the making of an autocracy and/or communist state.
The directive and deployment of police officers dressed in military fatigues (Saint Lucia does not have an army) with machine guns deployed on the streets of Saint Lucia to presumably contain peaceful unarmed civilians is illegal and appalling.
Compare this to the prime minister of Saint Lucia travels about the country in multiple vehicles, without a mask, eating in restaurants, congregating in bars, and partaking in campaigning, breaking his own ‘State of Emergency”, not only lacks equity but disobeys the laws of Saint Lucia.
Is the RSLPF, agents of the state acting in duplicity and facilitation?
Sunday’s extraordinary display and military actions by the police force were made worse by the seemingly “targeted arrest/detention” of Christopher Hunte a critic of the government, acting within the confines of democracy is dangerous. One can also add that press freedom, civil liberty, and dissenting voices are under attack in Saint Lucia by an authoritative state apparatus that is desperate to remain in power by any means necessary.
The actions leading to what the police described as an ‘unlawful’ motorcade and the arresting Sergeant is best described as a boy scout, unworthy of his taxpayers’ salary.
On a “drive around the island” the actions of the RSLPF and their military-style operation is in contravention of international law, democracy, rights, and freedom. These actions are unhelpful, relative to the Leahy Law, chocking the country. Added to that are actions, directives, and openness to seemingly adhere to the political directorate is at best unquestionable, that the police force has apparently, descended to doing the bidding of the political directorate. This is worrying, and a recipe for ugliness.
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.
Further, the contemptible press release issued by the RSLPF, Monday, June 15, says it all – the RSLPF is unfixable, devoid of norms, and must be disbanded forthwith. And if the RSLPF represents law and order, then it is worthy of note the reputation of the police force, the connotations of IMPACS, and that the future of the police force is undeniable – it must be disbanded forthwith.
To strengthen my recommendation, may you pardon me to have you read, the RSLPF press release issued Monday, June 15, 2020:
“The Royal St Lucia Police Force was made aware of an unauthorized motorcade scheduled for Sunday, June 14, 2020, commencing in the city of Castries, at 11:00 a.m. The procession was advertised with stops in all constituencies around the island, as per a clip from the “Can I Help You” talk show, hosted by Mr. Richard Frederick, titled “Moving on an Anti-Chastanet Drive”. As per the clip, he called on various members of the opposition, Saint Lucia Labour Party, disgruntled supporters of the United Workers Party and all other interested persons to join the cause. The said procession was also advertised by other individuals purporting to be organisers, via various media.
“At the end of office hours on Friday, June 12, 2020, the office of the Commissioner of Police, had not received any application for such a motorcade, which is a requirement under the Public Order Act Chapter 14.05 latest amendment of December 31, 2014. This Act relates to the maintenance of public order, with reference to public meetings, marches, motorcades, processions and for connected matters. Under the interpretation section, “public marches” is defined as, “any march or procession in a public place comprising (whether wholly or partly) pedestrians, vehicles (however propelled or drawn) or bicycles (however propelled except a march or procession”. The act authorizes the Commissioner of Police, upon receipt of an application, to deny or approve such an activity; again, no application was submitted. The act makes it an offence to lead or participate in a procession, without the prerequisite approval. If permission is granted, it is then the duty of the police to ensure that during the conduct of the activity, law and order is maintained.
“On the morning of Sunday, June 14, 2020, Mr. Frederick contacted Mr. Milton Desir, Acting Commissioner of Police, via telephone, and there was a conversation reference to the said motorcade. Mr. Frederick agreed to call off the motorcade, since he did not apply and therefore did not have permission to hold such an activity. Later that morning the officers present confirmed that Mr. Frederick made an announcement, on Jeremie Street, Castries, where persons had assembled for the commencement of the procession, stating that permission was not granted for the motorcade. He also urged persons to leave the area. A video of Mr. Frederick making that announcement to the attendees, was also circulated on social media.
“Later during the day, there was information that the motorcade left Castries and proceeded in the direction of Anse La Raye, despite the announcement of the non-approval, at the apparent behest of one individual. That individual was later detained on suspicion of contravention of the provisions of the Public Order Act. The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force respects and supports persons’ rights to participate in, and or organise public protests, marches, meetings or motorcades, however, we encourage persons to adhere to the laws governing such processes. We also take this opportunity to remind persons that if they insist on leading or proceeding with these unauthorized activities, they will be committing an offence under the Public Order Act.
“Notwithstanding the provisions of the Public Order Act, we wish to remind the citizenry that we are currently in a State of Emergency, with Statutory Instruments, which regulate the congregating of individuals. The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force wishes to encourage all people in Saint Lucia to continue adhering to the laws and protocols as we continue in our fight against COVID-19.”
I must say, the agents of law and order in Saint Lucia are appalling.