I watched the videos on the actions of the St. Lucia Police with great consternation. The confrontation between police officers and the citizens; followed by the next day arresting.
I was forced to recall my faded memory of police behaviors and abuse of powers some forty-five years ago while living in the homeland.
It appears nothing has changed. As a former military person with over twenty years in the US Army, I have never experienced this type of nonsensical behavior and tactics portrayed by the force on May 8, 2020.
In fact, anyone engaging in this type of behavior would be courtmartialed in the US Army. Prime Minister Allen Chastanet should be rolling out some heads.
But tell me something. Am I to believe, that simply claiming to be a gangster in St. Lucia, is breaking the laws requiring an army of police to make an arrest? Is the word “gangster” an illegal phrase in my homeland? Or is the word “gangster” a dog whistle to mean something else? “Ki sa; gwo roro.”
The police claim that the citizen threatens the officer. Now, come on? A cell phone recording verse a baton swinging, which one is threatening.
Please, Lucians! Do not accept this excuse from the police. Of course, I know that many Lucians would endorse the policing process. And some may say, “Vyé nonm, viwé kote ou soti.” But wait! Wait until it is your son, daughter, mother, father, or family at the receiving end of the police brutality and the use of excessive force. Tell me how you will feel.
As the old kwéyòl saying goes: “Jòdi a se mwen, demen se ou.” Here are my two cents. If you need an army with guns and rifles to arrest two unarmed men, then the world can conclude that the force lacks the necessary training to be police officers. Yes, you may not know or understand the damage that an M16A1 rifle can do.
The rifle is designed to kill within a range of 300 meters. It is a deadly weapon. M16 equates to kill. I am sure, whoever gave the St. Lucia Police Force M16A1 rifles did not intend for its usage as a tool to solve petite squabble between police and the citizens of the nation.
A police officer trained on the psychology of crowd behavior would have accomplished the task of dispersing within minutes. I saw the original video of the alleged party. The police officers were “Lapo.”
They had no tact of command; they came in as bullies and received a negative response. You can give anyone a badge, a gun, or a baton, without adequate training and they will act like a bully and a thug.
St. Lucia police officers are supposed to be working for the peace and safety of St. Lucians. Their salaries are paid by the Lucians.
My best friend, now retired, served over 30 years in the Royal St. Lucia Police Force told me many years ago, that he had never had to use force to meet his policing objectives.
He said that his mere presence alone would alert perpetrators and stop any acts deem illegal.
Many experts on community policing, always counsel officers to take a higher road. Respect is received when respect is given.
Sen. Hon. Hermangild Francis, please find training for your Police Commissioner and the force as a whole. And I leave with these biblical words: “While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (NIV 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Until then, peace.
Professor Sylvanus Donaie
BA, BSEE, MTM, MPM, MBA, PE
A proud Soufrierian and Lucian in the Diaspora