Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has said that the United States wants legal accountability in the matter of twelve police killings between 2010 and 2011.
“The US is not preoccupied with who is guilty or who is not guilty; the US simply wants legal accountability that something so outrageous could have taken place in Saint Lucia and at the same time the authorities in Saint Lucia hold accountable those involved in that matter,” Anthony disclosed.
He made the comments during the DBS Television evening news last night.
The United States withdrew all forms of assistance to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) over the killings.
Anthony described the matter as being debilitating, complex and difficult.
“On the one hand the US is insistent that this matter is dealt with – our police officers do not understand what the issue is all about and continue to believe that the government is the problem on the issue. They are being misled on the issue but they don’t understand the determination of the United States to get this issue resolved,” he stated.
The Prime Minister told DBS Television that the government has started taking steps to address the matter of the killings.
“Never before have I had such – not a public disagreement with the United States, but never before has our country had to face sanctions imposed by the United States of America.”
The Prime Minister recalled that a Coroner’s Inquest had recently handed down a verdict of unlawful killing in case of three of five men who were fatally shot by the police during an operation in Vieux Fort in May 2011.
He said the findings have to go to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has to decide whether there will be any prosecution of the officers involved.
“I am just saying that the guarantee has to be with the courts and when a DPP is appointed then we will know whether the matter will go a step further, but we have to deal with it,” Anthony asserted.
The President of the Police Welfare Association, Camron Laure, in an interview with the Times, had said that the officers involved plan to challenge the Coroner’s verdict.
Laure said that the officers had indicated to the Coroner that they were uncomfortable with the process, because based on pronouncements made earlier by the Prime Minister and others, they did not believe that they would get a fair hearing.