The recent case involving a 16-year-old female, who was charged with the murder of a 57-year-old man, has raised a lot of concerns regarding local laws and whether it should be revised.
Independent Senator Dr. Stephen King argued that Saint Lucia should have applied the rules as stated in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child being a signatory.
While the convention speaks to a child being below the age of 18, local laws state that someone from the age of 12 could be held liable for a criminal offense, as with the case of the 16-year-old.
“There are specific and clear recommendations and we must meet them. We must make our laws in compliance with the convention or alternatively don’t agree to the convention,” he remarked.
The Senator said Saint Lucia “can’t have your cake and eat it”, in other words, he noted that once the country has agreed to the convention, it must now ratify it and make laws in sync with the convention.
“This is a tragedy when a young person is caught in this “grey zone,” he stated.
Dr. King said the issue calls for greater attention and for all persons involved to exercise humanity, noting the difference of gender and age of the victim, against that of the alleged perpetrator.
But National Security Minister Victor La Corbiniere has argued that there have been incidents, where minors have been involved in several reports of gang violence and killings that have taken place locally.
The minister said many of these same young people are awaiting trial at the Bordelais Correctional Facility, stating that these criminal matters have to be dealt with in a manner that is reasonable.
While admitting that Saint Lucia is bound by this international convention, he said the country also has a right to advise the international community to revise this convention and to determine its relevance.