France snubs Saint Lucia Independence parade

France snubs Saint Lucia Independence parade

CASTRIES, St.Lucia Feb 22—For the first time in St.Lucia’s 37 years, the Government of France boycotted the national independence day celebrations here on Monday, over St.Lucia’s dysfunctional justice system and government’s failure to implement recommendations on alleged extra judicial killing by local police.

Media reports say that the French have decided to stay away from the celebrations at the request of the European Union, as part of sanctions on the island for its tardiness in resolving the implementation of recommendations of the IMPACS report on alleged extra judicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.

A French Embassy official last week confirmed that the French would not be part of the independence celebrations this year, but declined to comment on the reason.

 However, there have been reports in the electronic and print media here that the European Union is bringing pressure to bear on the French to take some form of punitive action against St Lucia over the human rights issue.

There are reports too that the United States could also be involved in pressuring the French who have been supplying training and other forms of assistance to the Police Force following the decision by the United States to stop such assistance in the wake of the IMPACS report, and allegations that local policemen had unlawfully killed a number of persons during an anti crime drive, Operation Restore Confidence, earlier in the decade.

Last month, an EU delegation that included French Ambassador to St Lucia Eric la Moussaye held discussions with the St Lucia Government to register their concern over the government’s slow pace of action on the contents of the IMPACS report.

On that occasion, the St Lucia government gave the EU team a time frame within which it hoped to address the EU concerns.

 The EU also has concerns about human rights in St Lucia as it relates to prisoners, including some Europeans, being held for years without trial.

At last month’s press conference Ambassador de La Moussaye told reporters that even without impacts St.Lucia’s justice system was a matter of concern.

 “I have had many meetings with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice. My President has had meetings with the Prime Minister. The issue is a problem not only for the French. I think that if we succeeded on behalf of our French citizens we would succeed for others who are for many years in prison,” he said.

 Reports suggest that there are some six French citizens in prison here, including an ‎Eric Sommier who has been ‎incarcerated here without trial for more than four years following a boating incident. The French Ambassador told the media during the press conference that his Government could “no longer sit idly by and do nothing.”

 An inquiry by this reporter has revealed that Sommier’s case is now expected to be heard at month end.

 ‎Meanwhile, increased expressions of national pride and love for country are some of the themes permeating the island’s 37th anniversary of Independence.

 Apart from a slew of activities over the long holiday week end, the highlight appeared to be Sunday’s naming of the islands new Owen King EU St.Lucia Hospital, a 122 bed facility, described by Prime Minister Anthony as having the potential to be the most modern and sought after medical facility in the Eastern Caribbean.

 “We therefore have a responsibility to our neighbours in the Caribbean as we search for new specialisation and for new treatment,” he told Sunday’s ceremony.

 The hospital which incorporates energy efficiency considerations an EU policy priority, is expect to be officially opened later this year.

 His call was also echoed by the Barbados based EU representative to the Eastern Caribbean Mikael Barfod who said that while the hospital was a gift from the EU, it was also an opportunity for the people of the Eastern Caribbean to secure modern health care.

 Noting how impressed he was with the design and location of the hospital, Barfod added, “in an age of scarce resources and stifling energy costs in the region I am also very encouraged to note the many sustainable design features of the hospital.”

 The EU is St.Lucia’s largest grant aid partner for development ‎having allocated EUR 37 million toward the hospital.

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    February 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm Reply

    No one cares!

    It is NOT their INDEPENDENCE.
    IT’S OURS!

    And I HOPE they NEVER PARTICIPATE IN IT AGAIN!

    STAY OUT!

  2. 1
    February 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm Reply

    We should allow this French criminal to rot in PRISON!

  3. 1
    February 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm Reply

    Try this crap with RUSSIA AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
    COWARDS!

  4. Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm Reply

    You see the fuse have not yet blow so everyone can talk crap.. when the (Word removed) hit the fan now we go talk (Word removed).

  5. Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm Reply

    We have more stupid people than the population

    1. LucianM
      February 24, 2016 at 11:41 am Reply

      Sadly evident in that illogical rant. Lucians make up the majority of people REMAND for years with no trial, some aren’t even guilty or have committed minor crimes that come with only a short prison sentence. Innocent until proven guilty. Pull the police up, make them do the work. If they won’t listen to the families and loved ones of those suffering, maybe the international community will make them act.

  6. Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm Reply

    That goes to the first 3 comments

    1. LucianM
      February 24, 2016 at 11:42 am Reply

      Sadly evident in that illogical rant. Lucians make up the majority of people in jail for years with no trial, some aren’t even guilty or have committed minor crimes that come with only a short prison sentence. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Pull the police up, make them do the work. If they won’t listen to the families and loved ones of those suffering, maybe the international community will make them act.

  7. 1
    February 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm Reply

    Idiot, I am a Saint Lucian first!
    My allegiance is with this island.

    I am NOT an agent or representative of the EU, like you and your goons are.

    If you believe they ” LOVE” you, then clearly History has failed you.
    House-Slave!

  8. ds
    February 23, 2016 at 5:44 am Reply

    Where were America and France when we were having a murder every weekend? Where were America and France when an innocent child was killed in La Clery in her bed? Where were America and France when 2 mothers were innocently killed by gunmen in Marchand and the old lady on the street? Where were America and France when law abiding citizens were scared to walk the streets of Castries? They never came to our aid then now they want to dictate to us. How many policemen in America are doing their own extra judicial killings of innocent black lives and calling it stand your ground? What the difference?

  9. Anonymous
    February 24, 2016 at 9:11 am Reply

    The hypocrisy of these countries is mind boggling. Of all the people killed in various drone and air strikes since 9/11, or even more recent since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, how many were afforded a trail or were even charged with a crime. Half of the time these people were identified after they had already been killed. Perhaps if we start using the word terrorist instead of criminal we’ll be on their good side.

    1. LucianM
      February 24, 2016 at 11:24 am Reply

      It’s not about love but logic. I bring your attention to these quotes from the story – “The issue is a problem not only for the French. I think that if we succeeded on behalf of our French citizens we would succeed for others who are for many years in prison,” Moussaye said.
      ALSO – The EU (of which France is a part) is St.Lucia’s largest grant aid partner for development ‎having allocated EUR 37 million toward the hospital.
      Or shouldI use you logic and say “I hope you or one of your family members end up on locked up on REMAND for 10 years with no trial to even PROVE you are guilty of a crime. Maybe then you will understand.”

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