Noting that Saint Lucia’s jail house, Bordelais Correctional Facility, looks better than the courthouse, the President of the Bar Association of Saint Lucia, Mary Juliana Charles, has said that it is high time that the government look at the justice system as a vital component in national development.
Charles told the Times that she has been reliably informed that plans for a new hall of Justice had been approved since 2010, and the French government is willing to assist in the construction because there are a number of French nationals on remand.
“I have consulted with a number of members of the Bar and they are of the general view that the government, through the Ministry of Legal Affairs, is treating the legal profession with an arrogant or is it a don’t care attitude?” Charles asserted.
According to the Bar Association President, the government can find money to do everything, except build a new courthouse.
Charles noted that $150 M had been earmarked to build a four-lane highway, whereas the building of a new courthouse would cost less than $50 M.
She disclosed that Criminal Lawyers who are members of the Bar have had meetings together with the members of the Prosecution Service and collectively decided that they would not like to re-enter the court for health reasons.
The Bar President told the Times that she had written to the Ministry of Legal Affairs on September 30, 2015, and in that letter mentioned among other things, that they had failed in their duty to supply the Bar Association with the proper report about the assessment of the air quality in the building, which is reported to contain asbestos.
She made it clear that members of the Bar will not re-enter the court building until air quality tests are done and renovations on the structure are completed.
Charles disclosed that in the meantime, various venues such at the House of Assembly, Bordelais Correctional Facility, the Town Hall, and Auberge Seraphine will be used to conduct court sessions.