The United States has made it clear to the new government in Saint Lucia that the ongoing failure to bring to justice those responsible within the local police force for gross violations of human rights prevents the US from reconsidering the sanctions imposed on the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) under the Leahy Law.
“We have made it clear to the current Saint Lucian administration and prior administrations that the government of Saint Lucia’s failure to bring to justice those responsible within the RSLPF for gross violations of human rights through credible judicial processes and prosecutions, where appropriate, prevents the United States from reconsidering the suspension of assistance to the RSLPF,” a State Department official said on Tuesday.
As a result of “credible evidence of extrajudicial killings of 17 people in 2010-2011 by the RSLPF”, the US Department of State suspended assistance to the local police and cancelled the visas of a number of senior police officers, denying them travel to the US. “In accordance with Department policy and US law, those foreign security force units credibly implicated in gross violations of human rights are ineligible for US assistance, unless the Department determines and reports that the host government is taking effective steps to bring those responsible to justice,” the State Department noted.
Newly elected Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet recently returned from a controversial “courtesy call” on the US Ambassador in Bridgetown and announced plans to establish a tribunal, with one member from Britain, one from the EU, one from the US and two from Saint Lucia, to look into the matter and present a road map moving forward.
“We are encouraged by Prime Minister Chastanet’s statements that he is considering the establishment of a tribunal or other forum in which to address the credible allegations of extrajudicial killings committed by RSLPF personnel,” the State Department spokesperson added.