Saint Lucia’s outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Victoria Charles-Clarke, has said that more manpower and resources are needed to help bring down the number of remand prisoners.
“The cases are before the court, the problem is getting the time and the personnel to process these cases,” Charles-Clarke, who has proceeded on preretirement leave said.
The DPP, who officially demits office in March next year, disclosed that that one indictable trial can take anywhere between two weeks to four weeks and in some cases 3 months, whereas there are only 52 weeks in a year and the court goes on vacation.
“So if you have to do the math you will realize that the current court system as it is structured cannot accommodate the number of cases that are awaiting trial, “the DPP asserted.
According to her, what would make a difference now is the appointment of about four Judges or more in the Criminal Courts and having more criminal courts so that the trials can be dealt with, since the cases are ready for trial.
“My department is ready for the trials but is it’s the manpower and the resources that are not available to process these cases more expeditiously,” Charles-Clarke declared.
Remand prisoners currently account for more than half of the prison population at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).
Of the 612 persons, 349 – including six females, are on remand.