Asserting that the authorities are not serious about justice and lamenting the closure of the District Court, Attorney at Law Mary Francis has urged that justice get the same priority as health.
“They don’t have the correct idea. They don’t have any respect for the justice system and its importance. The hospital doors are never closed, so the court doors are supposed to remain open. By that, I mean to say that the same importance placed on health, the same priority should be given to the justice system.” the outspoken Human Rights advocate told St Lucia Times.
Francis declared that justice and health were equal.
She told St Lucia Times that she and others who had matters before the District Court received notification on Wednesday of the court’s closure that day and on Thursday due to environmental issues.
The Attorney at Law noted that this has occurred as Saint Lucia has moved to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final appellate court.
And expressing concern for the welfare of District Court staff, she called on the government to look into the matter.
According to the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Coordinator, the District Court represented the first rung in the court system.
“District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, CCJ. While looking abroad to the CCJ, we need to attend to the problems at home first. I think the CCJ decision was lop-sided while neglecting what’s affecting the people, especially the poor man who is always arrested because of social problems,” Francis told St Lucia Times.
She noted that she had been concerned about the District Court for years, recalling that she had explained to the then Attorney General in the 1980s about water descending into her registrar’s office from a toilet above.
Francis recalled that the justice system, which she described as ‘the cradle of our civilisation’, needed attention then.