“We have a court in a shopping mall” – St. Lucia attorney calls for putting judicial house in order before CCJ switch

“We have a court in a shopping mall” – St. Lucia attorney calls for putting judicial house in order before CCJ switch
Justice Saunders

(SNO) — Local attorney Natalie Dabreo is calling on the government to put its judicial house in order first before even thinking of switching to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the island’s final appellate court.

Presently, the London-based Privy Council is Saint Lucia’s final appeals court but there have been calls to move over to the CCJ, based in Trinidad. Some, such as CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders, have said that such move will be a sign of full independence from Great Britain.

Justice Saunders

But Dabreo does not believes that a move from the Privy Council will define the island’s independence.

“We are endearing to remove ourselves from the Privy Council to fully claim our independence,” she told Caribbean Hot7 TV. “How do we fully claim our independence when we do not produce our own food? When we depend almost entirely on foreign support for us to pursue our existence? When we are sinking ourselves further and further into debt? And we are endearing to remove ourselves from the Privy Council as a manner in which we define our independence? I don’t think so.”

She is of the opinion that in order to define independence, “we need to strengthen ourselves as a people first”.

She painted a gloomy picture of Saint Lucia’s judiciary system, saying it is lacking in many ways.

“We have a court in a shopping mall in town, walk through, with all tourists and shops and all kinds of commerce going on …” she stated. “If there is any violent incident in the court, all the shoppers and employees are at risk. Then we have the criminal court on the highway in Vigie, in a building that is not fit for a court.”

She also said the legislative arm of the government has failed on many levels.

“We have people in the legislator, not necessarily this time, but perhaps this time as well, who really frankly I don’t think understand the laws that they pass, and I am not sure they read the legislation before they pass it,” she stated.

Dabreo beleives that before moving to the CCJ the court system must be improved in Saint Lucia.

“My position is that before we consider moving to the Caribbean Court of Justice, we need to improve our magisterial court system, even the structures where magistrate courts are held, they are lacking,” she stated. “The high court does not have a building, we are operating in a situation where we are not calling trials at the criminal court and all the judges are not sitting, we are moving all over the place. Sometimes we have matters and our clients are not with us, we have to see our clients on a screen and we cannot speak to our clients while we stand before the courts.”


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  1. You have a broken magisterial system. Unfortunately magistrates, especially the senior has no vision for the future and no drive to change. The cases are adjourned over and over with no resolution. This has been so for DECADES. Its a shame.


  2. u stupid people killing each other left right and center for a dollar or nothing much like your african brothers fighting without a cause unlike other groups, your judiciary corrupt, your police useless, governance on the edge, people who involved in endless corruption and bobol running you all politics and yet you all have the nerve to call for caribbean court of NO justice??? zot paka honte st lucien! wow!


  3. A great deal of sense here. There is nothing much independent about St Lucia. She relies on so many external elements.
    Of course the courts need sorting. So many have been begging for that for years. Please keep pushing this.


  4. This continuous slave mentally is what keeping us behind. Do we still have to hold on to the coat tail of mother England after they got rid of us? All we do is to complain we just like to pick scraps from the table without trying to find for ourselves. These are people given a chance would reverse our independent. It is true we are lacking in many things but it is time for us to do for ourselves what we must.Sacrifices must be made. They greatest power in the world had to crawl before it began to walk. Those so called intellectuals who attended universities at our expense has done nothing to advance the cause of our island. They run for political office when they are successful they drain the country from its financial resources without prioritizing the institutions that keeps the country running. When they are in opposition they pull down the country and scare off investors. We need to free ourselves from those country that enslaved us and work towards our complete freedom. We can do it we just need to stop complaining and put our shoulders to the wheel and work towards the betterment of our country.I am ashamed of Antigua and Grenada. They are yet to free their minds from the shackles of slavery and colonialism. If it is one thing that we learnt from the slave masters is divide and rule. Our leaders fail to make decisions on behalf of the people only when it suits their agendas. Jamaica Federation referendum. Now Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda referendum they call it knowing full well that the people are not prepared for change because it was not fully explained to them.


    • stop your nonsensical marjee. its like your wife asking you to manage the finances and you let them do it on the basis that she want equal power and equal share. before you know it, the lady spend up your money up and down castries; shopping eating, buying drinks for this and that. then account down to zero. after that u realise what you always knew of her was true all along, she is a bad manager. now think of your caribbean situation, unless we can look at ourselves and admit we have problems, we in deep sheet. yes we corrupt, yes our judiciary is a mess, yes there is political interference from top to bottom and yes justice not assured. until those basic things are solved then people will prefer looking outside because nothing has been done to put trust in the system. now put on your big boy pants and look at yourself first and instead of blaming slavery mentality for our attitude, look at the ways we can fix ourselves so our people will have faith in our system rather than others.


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