(GIS) — Citizen safety remains an area of urgent attention, and a key focus of the Government of Saint Lucia’s Medium Term Development Plan for 2019-2022.
An integral part of government’s plan is to strengthen the island’s capacity for investigation and prosecution, and reduce serious crime by 45 percent.
Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet revealed in his budget presentation that the forensic lab is already working through the backlog of cases needed to provide evidence in pending criminal cases. Similarly, the re-opening of the criminal court has resulted in 25 percent of the backlog being cleared, with a target of 70 percent by year-end. Rehabilitation also forms part of the strategy.
“We not believe that incarceration is the only solution to reducing crime in Saint Lucia,” Prime Minister Chastanet said. “Rehabilitation will be a key component in crime reduction aimed at preventing re-offending upon discharge. Inmates at the Bordelais Correctional Facility and juveniles at the Boys Training Centre will be offered enhanced life skills, literacy and numeracy schooling, substance abuse counselling, and CVQ certification programmes to give offenders the skills to re-enter society with better options for employment, thereby reducing the lure of criminal activity.
“Meanwhile, the introduction of a parole system early in this financial year is intended to support discharged inmates in transitioning back into the community to give them a better chance at completing their rehabilitation,” he said.
In addition to improvements to court infrastructure, government has further strengthened the human resources of the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“An additional Crown Council as well as a process server have been added to the DPP’s Office. Additional legislative drafters have been added to the Legislative Drafting Unit and this unit is now fully staffed. A full complement of Legislative Drafters will ensure our legislation is drafted within reasonable time, thereby bolstering our implementation efforts. Also, the Advice and Litigation Unit has received an additional litigator, which will also strengthen our implementation and execution efforts.”