Attorney at Law Mary Francis has reiterated a call for establishing a Human Rights Commission in Saint Lucia while expressing disappointment that the budget policy statement did not mention it.
“I heard nothing about a Human Rights Commission in the budget policy address,” Francis told St Lucia Times.
“It is time that we get a Human Rights Commission established under the auspices of the government of Saint Lucia,” the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Coordinator declared.
In this regard, Francis asserted that people must have avenues for justice and reparations.
She noted that the state could not abuse someone’s rights, and the victim must find the money for a legal defence after that.
Francis disclosed that she was dealing with an ongoing matter involving the Micoud police station and one of her clients.
According to Francis, her client has been the victim of police bias over the past ten years.
“What took place between Sunday and Thursday at the station, I was in talks with police officers there, he was released and they almost made it impossible for him to get bail on charges which to me should not have been laid against him at all,” the outspoken Attorney at Law said.
“He was not the aggressor, the police officer was the aggressor,” Francis stated.
“Those things disturb me tremendously,” she told St Lucia Times.
In addition, Francis observed that the situation had stayed the same in the twenty-five years since she formed her organisation.
She said over the years she has been concerned about irregularities and abuse of power at the Micoud station.
She declared that the police face no sanctions and operate with impunity.
“I am saying we are fighting crime. At the higher level, we have to ensure that things are alright, and we have to reevaluate the state’s role. Why should the state have privileges above the citizens when you have fundamental rights in the constitution?” Francis said.
By way of example, she pointed to the mediation process in the justice system.
Francis questioned why the state could not be subject to mediation when the Attorney General is a defendant.
“We saw it in the case of Dr. Ernest Hilaire, the Minister. Why can’t it be extended to other citizens?” She stated.
Francis declared that all such ‘contradictions’ must be resolved if the authorities want to fight crime because citizens are witnessing an unjust state.
The Attorney at Law acknowledged that people need the police, but at the same time suffer injustice at the hands of some officers.