EU diplomats came out of a meeting today with Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony, declaring that they had conveyed a strong message to him on the IMPACS matter.
Speaking on behalf of the three diplomats who met Anthony, EU Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean , Mikael Barfod, told a packed news conference that the message to the Saint Lucia leader was that almost a year after after the PM addressed the nation on the IMPACS report, there has to be action.
Barfod told a news conference that due process in respect of the allegations of extrajudicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), is an indispensable condition for a system that respects the principle of rule of law.
The EU diplomat, speaking on behalf of the EU, said there was respect for the fact that the Prime Minister has no direct control over the judicial branch and there is separation of powers.
Nevertheless he asserted that it was still the remit of the Prime Minister and his government to put the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the situation where there are resources to carry out the work of the DPP.
“We have noted that vacancies for the DPP and Deputy need to be filled and we are hoping that can be done quickly so that the process can start,” Barfod said, adding that the same was true for the appointment of a Police Commissioner.
He observed that aside from the “high profile” IMPACS matter, the criminal justice system in Saint Lucia needs to be improved.
Barfod observed that there is a backlog of cases and too many adjournments that lead to delays.
“Delays can often lead to no justice and this affects several concrete cases of the EU member states as well,” he disclosed.
Said the EU official:
“We are afraid this could lead to a sense of impunity that is dangerous for the society, especially for the future generation.”
Barfod warned that the situation could affect tourism, as travelers will be given advice that they cannot expect the proper functioning of the judicial system.
Noting that the issue is a longstanding one, he disclosed that there were plans to meet with the opposition on the matter as well.
Barfod revealed that the delegation that met with the Prime Minister left more optimistic than when it came.
He indicated that assurances were given that within a couple of months it is likely that a new DPP and Deputy will be appointed, while the process of appointing a new Police Commissioner is on track.
Barfod also disclosed that coming out of the meeting with Anthony, the delegation was informed that resources to support a new DPP are available on demand and can be applied.
He said as a result, the follow up to the IMPACS report should be able to start immediately after the appointment of a DPP.
The EU official told the news conference of continuing dialogue with the Prime Minister, and indicated that there are plans for another meeting at the end of March or in early April this year.
Barfod was joined in the meeting with the PrimeMinister today by Victoria Dean, British High Commissioner based in Barbados, and Eric de Moussaye, Ambassador of France based in St Lucia