(SNO) — Police Commissioner Severin Moncherry has discredited the contents of a letter printed in a local newspaper which had disturbed the main Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and forced the general secretary of the United Workers Party (UWP) to deny it was written by him.
The letter, published in The Voice on September 8, 2018, triggered a reaction from the Labour Party, which took umbrage with two paragraphs contained within and forced its chairman Moses Jn. Baptiste to write Moncherry asking why the writer of the letter was in possession of information that should be in the domain of the police force.
The Labour Party objected to the paragraph that stated: “Law enforcement agencies on island have successfully collected information which is likely to bring the offenders to justice.”
The other paragraph that alarmed the SLP was: “A top Israeli investigative officer presently on island on other related issues is expected to assist law enforcement in curtailing such breeches of protocol, including the ongoing leakages which remain of great concern to the security of the State.”
Jn. Baptiste wrote Moncherry wanting to know how did the writer of the letter, which was signed Oswald Augustin – incidentally this is also the name of the UWP’s general secretary – “was able to possess information that law enforcement officers had successfully collected and are yet to act on”.
The UWP general secretary, in a press conference called by his party, had vigorously challenged anyone to prove that the Oswald Augustin named at the end of the letter was actually him, claiming that there were five persons with the same name in the country, with one of them having passed.
Moncherry has since responded to Jn. Baptiste’s letter, claiming that he was unaware of his department engaging in any of the matters raised in The VOICE article.
“Dear Sir, reference is made to your missive dated September 12, 2018. I wish to make it abundantly clear that I have no knowledge that the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has carry out any formal investigations into any of the alleged matters stated in The VOICE Newspaper article,” the letter from Moncherry stated in part.
Moncherry further stated: “Also, I am not aware that the police force disclosed any such information to anyone. Furthermore, I have no knowledge of any of the claims made in the article entitled ‘Legal Action in Train” nor am I in a position to confirm its veracity.”
Moncherry reminded Jn. Baptiste that law enforcement in Saint Lucia was not limited to the Royal St. Lucia Police Forc, but includes other organisations such as the Customs and Excise Department and the Bordelais Correctional Facility.
Noting that the police force is a professional policing service, which keeps information guarded when investigations are being conducted confidentially, Moncherry made it clear that the police force does not release such information to anyone irrespective of status or political affiliation.
Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre addressed the issue at a press conference held by the SLP on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
“It is clear that the letter written by one Oswald Augustin was untrue, was a fabrication and intended to mislead the public of St. Lucia and to cast the Member of Castries south and other people in bad light,” Pierre said.