Several issues were raised in relation to security and justice when three European diplomats met with Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony today (Jan.14) at his Castries office.
Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation Mikael Barfod, British High Commissioner Victoria Dean, and the Ambassador of France Eric de Moussaye, were those in attendance.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Barfod told the media that a strong message was delivered to the Prime Minister with regards to the IMPACS report and other issues relating to justice.
The foreign diplomat said that the criminal justice system in Saint Lucia needs to be improved, pointing to the backlog of cases and too many adjournments that lead to delays.
He noted that delays can often lead to no justice and stated his concern that this could lead to a sense of impunity that is dangerous for the society, especially for the future generation.
The EU diplomat warned that the situation could affect tourism, as travelers “will be given advice that they cannot expect the proper functioning of the judicial system.”
He noted that the issue is a long standing one that requires collaboration and stated that plans are being made to meet with members of the Opposition to discuss these same concerns.
Barfod said the team recognised that vacancies for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Deputy need to be filled and are hoping that can be done quickly, so that the IMPACS report could be looked at.
He said: “due process in respect of the allegations of extrajudicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, is an indispensable condition for a system that respects the principle of rule of law.”
While admitting that the Prime Minister does not have any direct control over the judicial branch and there is separation of powers, he said it is was still the remit of the Prime Minister and his government to provide the necessary resources for the DPP to carry out her work.
Barfod said the Prime Minister has given his assurance that the vacancies for a new DPP, Deputy DPP and Commissioner of Police are well on track and these appointments could happen anytime soon.
The group of foreign diplomats plan to meet again with the Prime Minister in March or in early April this year, to follow up on the progress made with regards to the issues which were discussed today.
Only Tuesday the U.S Embassy in Barbados issued a statement urging the government to act on the IMPACS report. The U.S said it is concerned that four years have passed since these allegations of human rights violations first surfaced and due process is yet to be served.