By Caribbean News Global
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Prime Minister and Minister for National Security Philip J. Pierre, addressing the northern divisional police headquarters project, sod turning, on October 23, 2023, announced that his administration is planning to implement a ministry of national security with a standalone ministry of national security, a permanent secretary with a set of resources.
What do we have NOW?
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre minister for finance, economic development and the youth economy and minister for justice and national security; and, Dr Virginia Albert-Poyotte minister for the public service, home affairs, labour and gender affairs.
“The prime minister’s decision to pursue the construction of the northern divisional police headquarters project underscores the government’s commitment to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) and the protective services. Building the northern divisional police headquarters satisfies a critical law enforcement need and further strengthens national security mechanisms.”
A ministry of national security – budget 2024/2025
“In the next budget, we are going to have a dedicated ministry of national security. So you have your own head in the estimates. Right now, you share the head with the ministry of home affairs and sometimes that creates a little bit of confusion,” the prime minister and minister for national security, explained. “You going to have your own head, a ministry of national security with a particular head. So your expenses, a permanent secretary, the ministry of national security will be taken away from home affairs and is going to have that separate head for the ministry of national security, so that there can be no issues, as to who is in charge of what, what expense comes where …”
Caribbean News Global (CNG) in a request for comment on the prime minister’s statement that “the ministry of national security will be taken away from home affairs,” a renowned political and policy consultant observed, if as described in the current structure is a fact, “it is the understanding that the minister for national security minister is junior to the minister for home affairs,” adding, “this needs clarification.”
Awkward presentation of government policy
The prime minister’s announcement has awakened many inquiries in the understanding of what is administered as pro tem to national security, the apparent false flag of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another/others – the correlation between lawlessness and criminality that engulfs Saint Lucia, inclusive of ongoing investigations pending appropriate action.
There is also the prevailing functionality of politics that ostensibly controls the police force (a derelict colonial vestiture, that needs dismantling and not rebranding) over the fundamentals of police administration and operations, law enforcement and justice – in a failing democracy.
The government of Saint Lucia makes a show of distributing food, healthcare, personal hygiene items, laptops, cash vouchers, etc, in an ingenious scheme. The awkward presentation and explanation of government policy, comments and loose responses from ministers of government in Saint Lucia are also on the increase. Government ministers seem comfortable, but not good enough to control the narrative, have also taken offence to valid writings, justified complaints by citizens and as cited ‘a political statement.’
But perhaps one should excuse the redundance of bobbleheads to their political pettiness and temporary make-up and concentrate on legitimate interpretations.
“The proposed new deal in the configuration of a ministry of national security subject to definitive description and explanations share attributes of being superfluous,” the renowned political and policy consultant further advised. “This is an expansion of the cabinet and executive branch.”
According to the press release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Friday, October 27, 2023, the department of finance forecasts a real GDP growth rate of 3.2 percent for 2023 and projects 5.2 percent real GDP growth for 2024.”
Meantime, the Health and Citizen Security Levy (HCSL) is an investment in our community, our country – our people, says the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) press release Monday, October 30, 2023. The HCSL “devised” by the “cabinet of ministers” and executed by the government of Saint Lucia is expected to generate annual tax returns of XCD33M in new revenue.
Security and prosperity are vital for national development and stability. National security is a contributor to the country’s economy, enabling the free movement of people to transact commerce. Intelligence work is very important. With intelligence, countermeasures can be made such as strengthening and defending the health and well-being of Saint Lucia from harm. Collectively, these are legal justifications for enhancing deterrence capabilities.
However, if the current infamous homicide rate continues, and is left unsolved – no – ministry of national security with its own head – financial and political resources can suffice, as stated in St Lucia’s ‘Old World flycatcher’: Part 2
“Saint Lucia is at the junction of lawlessness and the ungovernable. No government can advance the security of Saint Lucia without facing up to IMPACS.” ~ CNG Insights.
“Our country is fast becoming a dangerous neighbourhood,” said the assistant commissioner of police with responsibility for northern division, Troy Lamontagne, September 27, 2023.
In the interest of exploring opportunities for a new deal to national security, albeit speaking with the right resources and external governments to provide a non-political solution, said a CNG expert, “lies with the competent understanding of law enforcement, police administration and intelligence. This allows for the competence of personnel to take on the role of national security and the corresponding titles with legitimacy and public cooperation.”
Convoluted and roundabout habits
A standalone ministry of national security without well-founded resources, a new ethos and leadership in the security and law enforcement of Saint Lucia is nothing but a political statement and a false narrative.
Much like an exercise of political convenience speaking to all the wrong people on IMPACS, national security and economic development. The underlying method leading up to the new deal for the ministry of national security raises pressing questions about the intersection of law enforcement and politics.
In this presumptive consideration, reconfiguring political strategies for electioneering and meeting promises to ministerial portfolio six months in a new government that awaits manifestation, the approach to a new deal – the ministry of national security should consider the long-term stability and sustainability of finances, knowledgable resource personnel, procurement of proper law enforcement equipment, continuous training and reliable partners.
According to Prime Minister Pierre: “Building the northern divisional police headquarters satisfies a critical law enforcement need and further strengthens national security mechanisms.”
Meanwhile, the said description and disjointed national security apparatus is exemplified, officials and leadership are eager to tax and spend, purchasing incompatible vehicles and low-grade equipment, compared to what’s available on the streets of Saint Lucia.
Moving forward – thoughtfulness, priorities and shared deliverables matter. Saint Lucia needs a long-term solution to national security. Deep priorities for a stable and sustainable path require a set of concrete, actionable recommendations.