A former police Inspector, accusing cops of mistreating him during a Vieux Fort operation, has threatened legal action over the incident.
Winston Bastien, currently an Inspector in the Special Reserve and a Justice of the Peace, told HTS Evening News that someone in civilian clothing attempted to stop his vehicle on Sunday as it approached New Dock Road.
But because there was nothing to indicate that it was part of a police operation, Bastien said he decided not to stop.
“I did not see anybody else,” he told HTS News.
“As I was going to pass him, he jumped in front of the vehicle, so I stopped,” Bastien recalled.
He said the man instructed him to switch off the vehicle’s engine.
“I said, ‘Why? Who are you?’ He’s not telling me. Then he said: ‘I said put off your damn vehicle.’ I said I am not putting it off until you tell me who you are,” Bastien stated.
“He said: ‘Boys, if he just move there, you all know what to do and I saw he was looking towards my left,” Bastien recounted.
He disclosed that he later saw three officers in uniform coming, at which point the man who stopped him showed an identification card.
“So I said, ‘If you are conducting traffic, the law says you must be in uniform. So it’s not only now you can show me an ID,” Bastien said.
He said when the officers approached, he opened his vehicle door to come out, at which point the officer in civilian clothing slammed the door.
Bastien told HTS News he sustained an injury when the door hit his forehead.
He revealed that he subsequently visited a Doctor and would be pursuing the matter.
Bastien said when he indicated that he had served in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is an Inspector in the Special Reserve, a Justice of the Peace, the officer who initially stopped him ‘cooled down’ and left the scene.
He said although the officers declined to search his vehicle, he insisted they did.
Bastien said he showed them his police bulletproof vest, asked for a senior officer, and recounted the incident to an officer who appeared to be an Assistant Police Commissioner.
“I informed him that I was going to take the police to court,” he explained.
Bastien also said he had contacted Police Commissioner Crusita Descartes-Pelius.
He told HTS Evening News that Descartes-Pelius promised to intervene but declared that if there were no satisfactory outcome, he would sue the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
Vieux Fort, recently the scene of a sharp upsurge in deadly gun violence, is now an escalated crime zone under new legislation granting extended powers to the police.
Before the legislation’s passage, there were concerns that the expanded police powers would foster civil rights violations.
Headline photo: Winston Bastien (Photo courtesy HTS Evening News)
you see of course how they treat people I knew these special powers they gave them would make them abuse their authority. You cant see the gentleman is a bit of an ageable man you want to treat him so by hitting his head on the door of his vehicle. The amount of things happening in vieux fort right now you expect the man to just stop his vehicle and you just in plain clothes and you refuse to identify yourself as a police. What if it was a robbery now. Take them to court sir its high time you jackasses learn how to treat people with respect cause i am sure you not treating your children nor your mother nor your father nor your woman like that
here is the link for the interview its really disgusting how this man was treated
Well during war you will have casualties. It’s unfortunate, but they are not playing around in VF. You of all people should know what’s taking place your credentials should be around your neck at all times for your own security and safety……it good leave mo stones unturned so we liking it
If they do that to you, imagine what they do to ‘normal’ civilians or may not be aware of the laws and protocols that you are privy to. Many are criminals themselves.
You were also a police officer in vf. Everyone knows how you use to treat people. I witness you slammed a young man down on the pavement down while arresting him. Now the shoe is on the other feet. See how it feels. I hope with your report and connections that things could change a bit. Not asking for much because of the crime situation but at least some form of being able to treat people with respect.
I hope and pray that Bastien files a lawsuit against the police and the state for many reasons:
First the Suppression of Escalated Crime Act is by and large unconstitutional. This law grants the police powers to stop and search anyone or vehicle or premises within the escalated crime zone. However, as per the constitution the police must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that someone committed an offense or is about to commit an offense in order for the police to stop and search that person or vehicle. In essence, the police cannot suspect everyone. This is a why the police no longer conducts roadblocks. The court ruled that to stop and search every vehicle, is indicative of the police suspecting everyone.
Second, I find it extremely difficult to accept that a law can be applied only to certain parts of the country. Laws are meant to be applied to everyone equally. Therefore I find it hard to fathom that a law can be applied only to View Fort and not Saint Lucia as a whole.
Third, the constitution has allowed for states of emergency which could have been used in this case to grant the government all the powers it so desired to deal with the situation in the Town. However, what the government chose to do because of expedience is to circumvent the constitution. This in itself is illegal. So rather than depend on the constitution, the law has granted powers to the Minister of National Security to do what was supposed to have been done by the constitution. The government has no power to override the constitution. Total madness!!! This is why I hope that more of the aggrieved citizens will follow Bastien’s lead and sue the police and the state.
Now as it relates to the operation itself, I stood by and wondered whether this was really a police operation. The officers looked horrible on the ground with no organization and just walked about aimlessly. I thought to myself that if the gangs confronted the police, many of them would have been killed or injured because of their lack of operational skill and awareness. Yes I know some of the tactics since I currently serve in the British army. And trust me the police looked horrible. They should be thankful that nothing went wrong.
And finally I considered that operation a failure as there was no element of surprise. The PM had announced to the world that the RSS was coming. And the smart gangsters had enough time to hide their weapons and send their members to other communities. So the people that were terrorized by the police just happened to be the good citizens in the town and environs. So tell me – is the government serious at solving the issue in the town? By their actions and that of the police, I humbly submit NOT AT ALL. It’s all a sham.
Remember there is always two said of the Story just saying…. Because we only have his version for now
And you morons who are cheering giving police unlimited power. This is what happens…
The war on the escalated gun violence is more than enough for the Country to try to overcome, so on Sueing aspect I would have kept that quiet and continue in Chambers. Why cause more disruption in an already under staffed and under resourced organisation.
To address what you saying about you being in the army is redundant:
* a cop and a soldier are 2 different roles. TBH a st.lucia cop is even a soldier because they serve in a paramilitary organisation.
* 98% of soldiers (especially in the army)have no real life experience.i have loads of army friends that have never even experience a mission out of training. Which mean a cop would have much more experience in that department and nothing beats experience. None of my Army friends have never even fire a live round after someone.
* don’t be fool by the operation which you saw on Sunday. I’m not even in the country and I can promise you that it’s more tactical than you would know. There’s a lot of covert operations which you won’t see on TV nor read about it online. Don’t blame you, you not meant to know.
* at the time of the escalated killings the quickest way to bring back a state of normality is visible troops on the ground and letting the country know that reinforcement will be arriving to help control the killings which worked. Ideally you would want to nab culprits while they in the streets but that would mean covert operations to get gang members red handed but you stand a chance of more killings which would definitely not be appropriate especially that innocent family members was being targeted and murdered.
Just saying it’s not as easy or simple as you think. That’s not seating on your Ps5 playing game.
Meanwhile we’ve had how many murders in VF since?
Bottom line…the policemen are humans and won’t get everything right 100% of the time. Still their presence is effective and yielding favorable results. Sacrifice and cooperation is a must if order is to be restored. All this whining about trivialities should be expected. Can’t be business as usual when you guys brought this upon yourselves. Why not show this same energy reporting criminal activities? At this point, rules may be broken…rights may be violated …people may feel hard done : all part of the equation when restoring peace and order in this gangsters paradise. I’m rooting for the cops.
Ps – As a former or reserved cop , you of all should have dealt with this more discretely. You will live.
Treat them all this way even me if you find me in these areas. Is it because he was in the force he deserve special treatment.sir take a hike . Most times we find out that it is those same people that believe they are above the law because the hold a title that is the top men behind those gang activities. Crude to the police. Do your job and don’t leave any stones unturned in Vieux fort. As for mr special reserve you know what is happening in Vfort have us all frustrated especially the police so it’s good the police are not smiling with anyone for they have no idea who are the people transporting the drugs. In Vf they use anyone be it kids. Women you name to do the dirty job. So yes sue the police because they did not smile with you and pamper you although he gave you the respect when they realize who you were. But officers search them no matter who they are so please next time do us a favor by searching him too. Peace and love
@obsserver two things, you said there are no longer road blocks but i think that is false because there recently were road blocks in the communities where they would conduct traffic checks asking for insurance documents and what not, correct me if this is a different thing you are speaking about and secondly in your last paragraph saying there was no element of surprise and I agree with you, this guy just talks to damn much, how does he expect to catch the majority of them when he announces to the entire world the RSS is coming. smh
you are an ex member of the police force. you are aware of the situation on the ground. so you tried and use whatever knowledge you acquired from the force in a way of retaliation, when you could have simple comply and state who you are very early in that situation. I feel sometimes we like to test others too much to prove a point given that we know the current situation
This situation only proves that the police is doing it’s job. Shit like like that will happen in an escalated crime zone. You are still lucky to be alive to make this report. Be more professional next time. Defuse a situation like that before it escapes. The police should not be discouraged. Show the naysayers who is in charge.
Situation like this will always be encounter. However it only takes a similar kind to ball out for injustice when the coin flip. Additionally how can a police officer also be a justice of the peace? Does one know how damaging that can be as a just of the peace can sign warrant on behalf of a magistrate. This is dangerous but thank God nothing sinister happened but he gota taste of his fellow confederates. As for sueing the police he can start sucking ice lolies.