Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony has defended his administration’s role in the IMPACS case.
Anthony did so today in a statement following expressions of concern by the Embassy of the United States of America to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
He said that the Embassy had rightly noted that there has been no meaningful progress towards a criminal prosecution in the last ten months, of those alleged to have committed extra-judicial killings.
But Anthony observed that the suggestion that this is or was due to inaction on the part of the Prime Minister or the government of Saint Lucia is “misplaced” and “unjustified.”
“The fact is that the Executive’s role in this matter was fulfilled upon presentation of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security Report to the Director of Public Prosecutions ten months ago in March, 2015,” the Prime Minister asserted.
He recalled that the Director of Public Prosecutions herself publicly stated that she never read the report until a full six months following her receipt of it.
The Prime Minister said that up until the time that the DPP proceeded on pre- retirement leave, in December of 2015, she never requested the Government of Saint Lucia to facilitate her to receive witness statements or to interview the investigators, whether in Saint Lucia or Jamaica.
He cited the charge that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was not provided with the requisite resources to prosecute the matter, noting that the Minister for National Security responded promptly and fully, debunking the DPP’s assertions.
“The issue about prosecuting those who may have committed alleged criminal offences has never been one about resources,” Anthony declared.
He disclosed that the Government of Saint Lucia made provision in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2015/2016 for the appointment of two special prosecutors to assist the DPP to prosecute those who may have committed criminal acts, if she deemed it necessary.
“She never made use of these resources,” the Prime Minister stated.
He said the truth is that never in the history of the DPP’s office has it been as well-staffed as it was at that time, with only the position of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions remaining vacant.
The Prime Minister said that even then, the Government of Saint Lucia had placed advertisements in the local and regional papers to fill the position on several occasions.
He however revealed that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission decided that none of the applicants were suitable to fill the vacant post.
Anthony asserted that the government of Saint Lucia remains “steadfastly committed” to the rule of the law, and remains as anxious as the United States of America to ensure that justice is done and the human rights of all citizens are protected in accordance with the Constitution.
But he said as recognised by the Embassy itself, the constitution of Saint Lucia guarantees the independence of the individual arms of Government.
“Consequently, it would be unlawful for the Executive to impose its will on a matter that is now clearly within the purview of the judicial arm of the state,” the Prime Minister said.
According to him, the Executive has done everything which is within its constitutional authority.
Anthony recalled that the Labour government took legislation to Parliament, to allow for the investigations into the alleged extra-judicial killings to be undertaken by a body other than the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
He said that the Government of Saint Lucia expects that the Judicial and Legal Service Commission will soon approve advertisements to fill the vacant post of Deputy DPP and DPP when it becomes vacant, consequent on the end of the pre-retirement leave of the incumbent Director.
“The Office of the DPP must, when it is properly constituted, be true to its mandate and prosecute this matter at its earliest,” Anthony observed.
He also said that The Government of Saint Lucia will continue to work closely with the Government of the United States to resolve the issues, in the interest of ensuring that justice is served.