U.S. Ambassador: IMPACS issue resolution would improve relations
United States Ambassador to Barbados and the eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela has likened the Caribbean region as the third border of the United States, stressing its importance in the fight against drug interdiction and money laundering.
Ambassador Taglialatela, who yesterday delivered to the Crown Prosecution Services unit office equipment amounting to EC$100,000 compliments of her Barbados-based embassy, said the United States relation with the Caribbean is important in the fight against crime and will continue.
“What we are trying to do is to develop a long-term relationship based on trust, mutual security, admiration and collaboration,” she said.
Admitting that the United States had reduced the amount of money it puts in direct assistance, she noted that the more powerful neighbour to the north had created a lot more programmes instead where equipment is given and training is provided.
“We do things where we try to create sustainability, create reform,” Ambassador Taglialatela added.
But the United States generosity does not spread to all levels of the government apparatus, as the almost two-year sanction it has on the Royal St. Lucia Police Force still remains.
This was imposed following St. Lucia’s lethargy in addressing allegations of human rights violations raised by the United States from 12 fatal police shootings in 2010/2011.
Following a request from the Americans, the Government of St. Lucia brought in a team from CARICOM’s Implementation Agency against Crime and Security (IMPACS) to investigate the killings, which had inherited the label “extra-judicial killings”.
The findings from that investigation moved both the Americans and the Europeans into calling for a quick redress of the concerns outlined in the report from the investigators.
The matter is still unresolved but according to Ambassador Taglialatela, it will be resolved in the near future.
“We have asked the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) to move forward with it,” she said, noting that if it was resolved a lot more assistance would have been provided to St. Lucia and the relationship between the two countries would have been better.