The Executive Director of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, Mary Francis, has expressed concern over allegations of sexual harassment in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
Reports indicate that the allegations are against a senior police officer.
The President of the Police Welfare Association (PWA), Camron Laure, recently called for an independent inquiry.
And Mary Francis supports the call.
“I was taken aback to an extent, yet I was not too surprised,” Francis said regarding the sexual harassment allegations.
However, the outspoken Human Rights advocate said it was surprising that there had been no probe, although the PWA had brought the matter to the then-Police Commissioner, Crusita Descartes-Pelius.
She declared it a severe indictment against the RSLPF, charged with prosecuting criminal offences.
The Attorney at Law also observed that the Labour Code makes sexual harassment a human rights issue.
She found it strange that the RSLPF has no sexual harassment policy.
And Francis declared that an internal inquiry should commence on receipt of sexual harassment allegations, and depending on the outcome, there should be a prosecution.
“If police officers are denied justice within their own workforce, what about the average citizen?” She told St. Lucia Times.
“The culture of impunity in the police force is not going away at all,” Francis lamented.
She declared that the police seem to ignore misconduct and criminal acts within their ranks.
The Attorney told St. Lucia Times that she had lodged cases with the Police Complaints Unit on behalf of her clients.
“In three cases, I was told the Complaints Unit had done their work and sent it to the Commissioner’s desk for action,” Francis recalled.
But she said two years and three Police Commissioners later, Severin Moncherry, Milton Desir, and Crusita Descartes-Pelius, no one has acted on the recommendations.
“That’s our society. Everything is like a joke. We are not serious about the rule of law in Saint Lucia,” Francis asserted, adding that Saint Lucia is a lawless society.
She told St. Lucia Times that the IMPACS report highlighted the culture of police impunity.
“Eleven years and nothing has been done,” Francis said.