National Security Minister Hermangild Francis has disclosed that a Trinidadian-based company is looking to assist government with reopening the Forensic Lab.
While the minster did not disclose the name of the company nor the individual in charge, he said the owner is expected to submit a proposal to the government shortly.
“We are in discussion with a businessman in Trinidad and Tobago, who owns his own lab in T&T which is utilized by the Government of T&T and a lot of private sector persons,” he said.
Francis said the business owner had visited the lab here and said he is very impressed with the equipment that it contains, but asked for time to do an analysis before making a proposal.
The minister said once the proposal is received, it will be looked at properly at the Cabinet level before approval is granted for the reopening of the lab.
During one of his first interviews with St. Lucia News Online (SNO) after being appointed minister, Francis had said that government was looking to make the Forensic Lab a regional organisation.
He had cited the enormous cost to maintain it and said it could be used to serve all Eastern Caribbean countries.
The national security minister said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had suggested this, and there was general consensus among members of the new government that this may be the right thing to do.
The minister had told SNO that he feels it will be good for Saint Lucia because at present only: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, does DNA and other major testing for countries in the Eastern Caribbean.
Former National Security Minister Victor Lacobiniere had said that his government took a decision to allow an independent entity to run the operations of the forensic lab.
But upon taking office, Francis said his government would have to look at that plan to determine whether they will go in that direction, explaining then that it might be difficult to attract a private investor.
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 was reportedly short on material to conduct forensic tests, which initially caused operations to slow down at the facility. It was later shut down and has remain closed for several months.
The $6 million forensic lab has been plagued by controversy since its opening in 2009.