Outspoken Human Rights advocate Mary Francis has strongly criticised Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre over responses to questions about a report on alleged extra-judicial killings by local police.
She said the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself.
At a news conference on Friday, Pierre denied knowing that the 2014 Caribbean Community’s Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) report on the killings between 2010 and 2011 implicated a member of his Cabinet.
“I am appalled and even ashamed to hear the response, that he knew nothing,” Mary Francis told St. Lucia Times.
“I am not going to accept that. That is unacceptable,” the outspoken Attorney at Law stated.
She recalled that Pierre was part of the Dr. Kenny Anthony administration, which came into office in 2011 after the electorate voted out the Stephenson King government.
Pierre was then Deputy Prime Minister.
Francis, the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Executive Director, noted that Operation Restore Confidence, under which the police slayings occurred, happened during King’s watch.
King is now a member of the current Cabinet.
“The state continued to exist regardless of a change in government, so the institutions of the state must be protected, must function and part of the institutions is the investigative arm of the justice system, which is the police,” Francis asserted.
Francis declared that the Kenny Anthony administration, including Pierre, knew the killings had occurred and had a duty to account for the deaths.
She said under pressure, Anthony brought in IMPACS.
The Human Rights advocate said Pierre was part of Anthony’s Cabinet and should have known about the IMPACS report.
“Dr. Anthony had the report. He referred to that report in the media,” Francis noted.
She told St. Lucia Times that if Pierre, currently responsible for National Security, were interested in the rule of law, he would have found out from then Prime Minister Anthony what the document contained.
Francis said the entire Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Cabinet at the time had a duty to act but did nothing.
“This has been a political football, but I would blame the Labour Party more because they had time on their side to do something between 2011 and 2016 and have a prosecution,” she stated.