(New York, September 27, 2015)Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has said amid the current controversy over allegations that a few Police officers are plotting his overthrow, that he is not afraid of anyone.
The Prime Minister, who is currently here in New York, made the comments in an exclusive interview with the Times.
“I am aware that a very small group of police officers and I re-emphasize, a very small group, has planned to use the so-called Lambird’s Affair and more recently, the AIMU investigations, to try to embarrass me personally and three other Ministers in my Cabinet. The Police Force is itself not involved in this,” Doctor Anthony told the Times.
He disclosed that a senior officer at the centre of the allegations is reported to have openly boasted of his intentions to his colleagues and civilians alike, to bring down Kenny Anthony and the Labour government.
According to the Prime Minister, the officer is alleged to have said this with impunity.
The Prime Minister revealed that an investigating officer in the execution of a search warrant at a particular Ministry, allegedly told a senior civil servant that they intended to bring down the Government.
“ Obviously, this is fanciful but it may confirm that there are police officers who do not understand that they cannot use the law for political purposes, no matter how much they may dislike the current administration,” the Prime Minister declared.
Said Doctor Anthony:
“The following questions are begging for answers: why should the so-called investigating officers issue warrants to search the offices of senior officials of the Government of Saint Lucia, including Ministers? Did the officials in question ever suggest that they would be unwilling to co-operate with the police in their investigations? Were they ever hostile to the police investigators? “
While making it clear that Government Ministers and officials are not above the law and enjoy no immunity from the legal process, Doctor Anthony noted that likewise the Police enjoy no special immunity from prosecution when they commit infractions of the law.
“You will agree, I hope, that searching the offices of High Level Government Officials is an unprecedented step. Search warrants are only issued where investigators have reason to believe witnesses would be hostile or they have incriminating evidence which they plan to destroy or hide. The real question is this: Was the High Command of the Police Force aware and did they authorize the issuance of these search warrants? We need answers to these questions to properly understand what occurred and why?” He asserted.
Asked whether the latest allegations against some officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), would do further damage to a Police organization which is reported to be already demoralized over revelations in the IMPACS report, the Prime Minister asserted that if the officers are not investigated, then even greater damage would be done.
“The Police Force cannot be a sanctuary for those who openly engage in political activities under the cover of the law,” he told the Times, adding: “ This is not just about the IMPACS Report. It is about a small group of rogue officers who seeking to deliberately embarrass a government with the sole intention of causing its downfall. Clearly this is an abuse of authority, and it calls for firm disciplinary action against the offending officers.”
On the issue of whether he felt threatened, Doctor Anthony disclosed that he treats threats against him and his life as normal incidents of office.
“ Some Saint Lucians like to believe that these threats are exaggerated and such acts of violence and intimidation cannot happen here. That is not so. Times have changed. One only has to remember that a murder was committed in the constituency office of a former Prime Minister. As for me, I hear about these threats but the truth is, I am not afraid of any one.I continue about my duties in a normal manner. When however, there are police officers who harbour anger, spite and hatred then clearly one has to be very careful,” he explained.
The Prime Minister also responded to comments made to the Times last week by the President of the Police Welfare Association, Camron Laure, who asserted that some Police Officers almost feel threatened by the political directorate in view of the IMPACS report, the revelations by the President of the Senate, Claudius Francis, suggesting Police moves to overthrow the government, and moves to retire the Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, in the public interest.
Doctor Anthony noted that save for his statements during his address to the nation on the IMPACTS Report, the Government of Saint Lucia has said very little.
“ We avoid discussing the report publicly for the simple reason that we do not wish to cause any prejudice to the process of assessment of the findings of the IMPACS Investigating Team,” Doctor Anthony stated.
He said rather than attacking the Government, Mr. Laure should offer his ideas on how best to encourage the United States to lift its sanctions on the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
The Prime Minister added:
“This issue will not go away until we deal with it. What does Mr. Laure have to say to the Police Officers whose visas have been cancelled and cannot travel to the United States, whether on business or pleasure? Mr. Laure should answer this simple question: is it in the public interest that the Commissioner of Police of Saint Lucia cannot travel to the United States to represent Saint Lucia to discuss security matters with officials of the United States Government? Even when the Commissioner of Police travels to countries other than the US, more often than not, the US would be a transit port. “
The Prime Minister declared that Mr. Laure should answer other questions, such as whether the Government of Saint Lucia should allow a situation where an entire police force is denied training by the United States because of a cloud hanging over a few officers.
“ Is that what Mr. Laure wants for the men and women of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force? Is that representation?” Doctor Anthony asked, adding that the record will show that the Labour Party government has not threatened any Police Officer, but merely taken action in the interest of the country when such action is merited.
On the matter of the disclosure of the alleged coup plot by President of the Senate, Claudius Francis, Doctor Anthony said he does not for one moment believe that Senator Francis was irresponsible.
“ Someone needed the courage to expose what is clearly unlawful and deviant behaviour. In my view, he has provided more than enough evidence to back-up his claims. In this society we have come to be adept at finding excuses for unlawful behaviour especially where such behaviour seeks to injure politicians,” the Prime Minister told the Times.
“ I repeat that this an allegation against a very small group of officers. Moreover, one would be hard-pressed to find another individual who has remained as steadfast in his support and defense, both privately and publicly, of the police over the years. Consequently, when someone who has done this so consistently now speaks of a plot by a few officers, I would suggest that he should be taken seriously,” Doctor Anthony said of the revelations by Senator Francis.