Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has expressed concern over what he described as a reversal in progress in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), including morale.
“I am very concerned now where we are because we seem to be going right back and repeating the same mistakes. The progress we have made in strengthening the police force and building back morale has reversed itself,” the former Prime Minister stated.
Chastanet spoke during an opposition United Workers Party (UWP) round-table discussion Thursday night.
He reiterated concern over Housing Minister Richard Frederick’s remarks during his television talk show.
“When you have a Minister of Government making the statement that he is getting information from the police officers and that the Prime Minister does not fire him immediately, it raises alarm bells,” the UWP leader declared.
He asserted that the development further deteriorates confidence in the police.
Chastanet also expressed concern over legislation facilitating Vieux Fort South’s designation as an escalated crime zone.
The designation followed a surge in deadly gun violence in Vieux Fort earlier this year.
The Suppression of Escalated Crime (Police Powers) Act grants expanded powers to the police to fight crime in designated communities.
However, despite the measure the gun violence has continued in Vieux Fort.
Chastanet declared that ‘the suppression act’ breaches the Constitution.
He explained that the Constitution calls for a state of emergency, requiring reporting on the measure.
But the former Prime Minister questioned whether anyone knows how many homes the police have searched or the people they have detained under the Suppression of Escalated Crime (Police Powers) Act.
“And now, what does the government want to do? The government wants to expand the Suppression Act territory,” Chastanet told the round-table discussion.
In this regard, he said Saint Lucia would become a police state.