Opposition leader Doctor Gale Rigobert has called for a national bi-partisan response to rape, and has called for the forensic laboratory to be reopened.
The call came today on the heels of a number of reported incidents of rape in several parts of the Island.
Rigobert has expressed concern about continued pronouncements by the government which in her opinion, do not give the victims of rape and sexual offences and their families any confidence that the current administration is ready, able and capable of curbing the problem.
“For a Prime Minister to speak of the issue as if it were removed from him remains a huge concern,” the Micoud North MP said.
She expressed the view that the Prime Minister would have by now, used his power and good office to ensure that the forensic laboratory is reopened.
Rigobert asserted that in the absence of a functioning forensic laboratory, the police have great difficulty processing evidence in an effective and timely manner to ensure that perpetrators of rape are brought to justice.
She disclosed that she was still waiting for the Ministers with responsibility for National Security, Health and the Prime Minister himself to say to citizens that the reopening of the forensic laboratory remains a high priority.
The opposition leader noted that despite the good work of the police, their work is hindered because the forensic laboratory remains closed.
She indicated that the cost of sending evidence overseas for testing would be costly.
Rigobert said it was her understanding that because of the cost implications, the police are sometimes forced to determine which cases are given priority and what evidence is to be sent overseas for testing.
She explained that such a situation would have obvious implications for the timely processing of evidence.
“You know when evidence changes hands you increase the risk of contamination,” the opposition leader declared.
She said she is not satisfied with what she has heard so far from the two other female MP’s in Saint Lucia on the rape issue.
Rigobert said the two, Alvina Reynolds and Emma Hippolyte, should make a solution to the spate of rapes here their priority.
While not mentioning them by name, the Micoud North noted that the duo are sitting in government.
“When they sit alongside their cabinet peers they should help come up with a resolution or a solution to this problem,” she declared.
The Micoud North MP also asserted that there was also need for more men to speak up.
“We women can go out there and speak to the issue as vociferously as we want to, but if we can do so I partnership with some of our men,” Rigobert said during the Radio Caribbean International (RCI) call in show this afternoon.
“I want to hear the male parliamentarians speak to this!”