National Security Minister Hermangild Francis has announced plans to have the Forensic Lab reopened in six months under a new Public-Private Partnership agreement (PPP).
The minister revealed on Monday that the government has come to an agreement with Trinidadian-based forensic company to help manage the country’s forensic facility.
But the only issue that is affecting the lab’s reopening at this moment, is the fact there has been severe structural damage made to the lab, which must be fixed immediately.
The senator explained that in order for this to happen, it would require removing all the equipment currently occupying space in the building.
“Maybe in six months we will have this one (lab) up and running…The roof also needs repair or replacing because it is leaking” he explained.
However, despite this delay, the minister said that the government will work to ensure that the backlog of DNA and other forensic materials are adhered to quickly.
The government also plans to recruit trained local forensic specialists, and a retiree from Canada with a strong professional background in the field.
Francis said the long term objective is to turn around operations at the laboratory, so that Saint Lucia will one day be able to run the facility independently and efficiently.
The national security minister had expressed hope that the lab become a regional organisation, explaining that Saint Lucia is the only country in the Eastern Caribbean with such a facility.
The closure of the forensic lab has affected the ability of the Police Force to move forward with a number of serious crimes, according to several senior police officials.
The lab, which was built at the tune of $6 million, was short on material to conduct forensic tests, which initially caused operations to slow down. It was eventually shut down in 2015.