Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Investigators find blacklist existed in extrajudicial killings

Published:Tuesday | March 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dr Kenny Anthony

CASTRIES, CMC

Jamaican investigators probing alleged extrajudicial killings by members of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSPF) have found that a "blacklist or death list" existed, Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has said.

In a radio and television address on Sunday night, Prime Minister Anthony also said that the investigators had found that police had staged "fake encounters" to legitimise their actions and that "all police officers involved in the unlawful killings of citizens in respect of the files reviewed must be prosecuted".

In 2013, the St Lucia government enlisted the help of the Jamaican police to investigate the RSLPF following a decision by the United States (US) to withdraw security-related assistance after claims of human rights violations.

 

assistance suspended

 

In August 2013, Washington suspended all forms of assistance to the RSLPF, citing allegations of serious human-rights violations.

"The Department of State has made a policy decision to withdraw training and material assistance to the Royal St Lucia Police Force due to credible allegations of gross human-rights violations," the US State Department said in a statement then.

As a result, Police Commissioner Vernon Francois, was prevented from travelling to the US to represent the Regional Security Service at a conference of Black Police Chiefs.

In his address, Prime Minister Anthony said that the report, a copy of which has been sent to the United States, confirms that "the blacklist or death lists" referenced by the media, human-rights organisations, victims' families, and citizens alike, did exist.

"More alarmingly, the investigators report that "all the shootings reviewed were fake encounters staged by the Police to legitimise their actions," he said, adding "that the weapons supposedly found on the scene of the alleged extra judicial killings were from sources other than the victims.

"The investigators said that the weapons were planted on the scene of the shootings" and that "the investigators also advised that "a number of shootings were done by police officers and are listed on the murder statistic as being done by unknown assailants".

 

corruption

 

The report suggests that "the crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers," Prime Minister Anthony said.

In his detailed report to the nation on the issue, Prime Minister Anthony said that of serious concern, too, is the fact that the investigators also reported that in the course of the investigation, some senior officers did not cooperate with them.

"They reported that the main server of the computers used by some members of the high command of the police force was deliberately tampered with. In two instances, the operating systems of the computers were altered to place the supposed contents beyond "the timeline of [the] investigation or probe".

Anthony said the report has also recommended that some senior police officers be held accountable for their actions or for their failure to take appropriate action when the alleged killings occurred.