Published On: Mon, Jan 20th, 2014

Saint Lucia Government blamed for murder of British tourist

BritishCASTRIES, St Lucia – The brutal murder of Robert Pratt, a British sailor who was allegedly denied clearance to leave Saint Lucia last Thursday, should not come as a surprise to anyone, according to the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM).

Moreover, if it is proven that Mr. Pratt and his wife were denied clearance to leave because of our nation’s overbearing bureaucratic system and that the delay in processing their request to return to their homeland might have opened them up to the prying eyes of criminal elements, then our government no doubt has a lot to answer to the United Kingdom and the rest of the international community.

The LPM insists that for “For many years now, Saint Lucian governments—and, in particular, those led by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony from 1996 to 2006 and 2011 to the present—haven’t done much to create an environment of ease whereby locals and visitors alike are able to  conduct government-related business in a speedy and timely manner. This, the LPM says, must be reviewed in order to trim the unnecessary bureaucracy and create confidence in the ability of the government of Saint Lucia to operate within a modern and acceptable system that meets most international standards.”

Also, in assessing the government’s handling of the situation following Mr. Pratt’s murder, the LPM states that it is appalled by the denial and continued attempts to paint an inaccurate picture of how ruthless the criminal elements on the island have become. In doing so, the party points to a statement issued by Mr. Lorne Theophilus, the island's Minister for Tourism, affirming that “Saint Lucia remains relatively safe for nationals and visitors alike.” However, the LPM disagrees and instead suggests to Mr. Theophilus that our nation would be better served if his government would take a more critical look at what is happening in the country instead of focusing on a narrow public relations stunt that simply seeks to mask or deny the ruthless nature of crime in Saint Lucia.

A simple review of the national statistics indicates that we have lost over 300 citizens (mostly young people) to homicide in the last eight years. Therefore, while the government and its misguided group of supporters continue to ridicule attempts to highlight the serious nature of the problem, the LPM says that Saint Lucia can never effectively move to manage its crime problem unless there is an acknowledgement on the part of the government that this situation is grievous.

The LPM suggests that the effective management of crime does not entail a willful attempt to mislead the Saint Lucian citizens into believing that they risk tarnishing the image of our country should they speak forcefully against the savagery of criminal activities on the island. Rather, true patriotism mandates that we all place our country above all else, including the selfish and self-serving attempts to keep our party in power.

The LPM maintains that combating crime requires a progressive government that is willing to forsake all political theatrics and instead focus on uniting our nation in order to provide effective security throughout the length and breadth of Saint Lucia. It certainly does not involve having a complacent or passive attitude to crime, or the kind of deafening silence that seems to emanate from within the halls of the government of Saint Lucia following numerous incidents in which locals are gunned down or butchered to death.

The LPM says that such official behaviour only serve to embolden criminals by sending the wrong signal that the government of Saint Lucia is unable to carry out its responsibility of ensuring that it maintains a safe and stable society.

Therefore, unless there is open acknowledgement of the problem, we can expect to have other unfortunate incidents such as those involving Robert Pratt, and Colin Peter (a Canadian citizen who was murdered while vacationing in Saint Lucia in November of 2012), among others.

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