Saint Lucia’s Police Commissioner Milton Desir Sunday denied social media reports that Talk Show Host and former Castries Central MP, Richard Frederick, had been arrested during preparations for an ‘unlawful’ anti-government motorcade.
Frederick was one of the organisers of the event.
“Richard Frederick has not been arrested,” Acting Police Commissioner Desir declared.
According to the Acting Police Commissioner, he saw Frederick telling people that the police did not give permission for the activity and he was not going to take part in it anymore.
Desir told St Lucia Times that the police were aware of advertisments in the media about the motorcade.
He said the police did not receive any request for the activity.
According to Desir, under the Public Order Act, a motorcade falls under a public march which requires police permission.
“We had not received any request, much less denying it,” he explained, asserting that the activity was unlawful.
Desir said the police were trying to break up the activity.
But reports indicate that after a massive crowd had gathered in Castries for the event, a number of vehicles did take part in the motorcade which snaked along the Millennium Highway.
Participants in the motorcade said police had set up a road block along the highway and were stopping motorists to check that their licences and insurance papers were in order.
The accused the police of attempting to block them.
“Chastanet open his border for the USA to pass, open the border for us to pass too,” one animated woman asserted.
Persons along the way, some dressed in red, cheered the horn-honking motorists on while others shouted anti-government slogans including ‘Chastanet must go!’
Richard Frederick for his part part recalled speaking with the Acting Police Commissioner and asking whether permission for the round the Island motorcade was necessary.
“He promised to get back to me – I guess he was busy and he did not get back to me. He told me to check the Statutory Instrument,” Frederick, who is an Attorney at Law by profession stated.
According to Frederick, he checked and saw that it indicated for mass crowd events permission is required.
“I did not, in my humble view, interpret driving around the Island to be a mass crowd event and so one would not have assumed that permission is necessary,” the former MP for Castries Central told St Lucia Times.
He expressed the view that based on a ‘strict interpretation’ of the Statutory Instrument, the motorcade was not a mass crowd event.
Frederick said Sunday morning Acting Deputy Police Commissioner, Wayne Charlery, indicated to the demonstrators that their event was not permitted and they should not play loud music.
The former government Minister told St Lucia Times that he cooperated fully with the police, but organisers were unable to proceed with the motorcade as originally planned.
“We did ask the crowd to disperse,” Frederick recalled.
He asserted that the event was an ‘Anti-Chastanet’ motorcade.
“Chastanet has his knees on our necks and we need him to get off our necks,” Frederick declared.
He acknowledged that there had been a massive turnout for the motorcade.
“The people are hungry, they are angry, they want action, they want to see the back of Chastanet and I must say there was much celebration in spearheading what is obviously an anti-government protest,” Frederick told St Lucia Times.
He recalled the saying that when a little cube of ice atop a mountain eventually becomes an avalanche it gathers momentum, and expressed that view that there was need for one event to spark a movement to get rid of the current administration.
Frederick made it clear that the motorcade was planned as a peaceful event.
“I implored every attendee to ensure that they carried their drivers licences, their insurance papers and do everything within the protocols established for Coronavirus,” he explained.