Alvina Reynolds, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, has asserted that there must be swift prosecution of rapists.
“Justice must be done swiftly to get the victim to the place where rehabilitation and counselling can happen, without having to go back to the courts to relive this nightmare,” Reynolds said today during a joint news conference with Gros Islet MP, Emma Hippolyte.
Reynolds, the MP for Babonneau, expressed the opinion that swift justice would serve as a deterrent to would be rapists.
She observed that the maximum penalty for rape is life imprisonment.
Nevertheless Alvina Reynolds said:
“How many rapists who have been convicted have received a life sentence? This calls for an investigation. It must send a clear message to perpetrators of violence and sexual violence in particular that this is unacceptable.”
Emma Hippolyte told the news conference that the spate of rapes that have been recorded here is a national issue.
Hippolyte disclosed that there is a commitment in the cabinet and at the level of the Prime Minister to deal with the matter.
“We have discussed it – we have certain ideas but it is not an issue that can be dealt with by just cabinet,” the Gros Islet MP explained.
She told the news conference that closely related to the issue of rape, is the matter of how comfortable the society is with violence.
“If we crack that problem we will be cracking the other problems,” she asserted.