Severin Moncherry, Saint Lucia’s new Police Commissioner, has urged rape victims to come out and report the matter.
“It is only by reporting the matter that we can bring the perpetrators to justice,” Moncherry, who took over as Police Commissioner today, April 1, 2016, asserted.
Moncherry also disclosed plans for a support team to assist rape victims.
The measure has been criticized as a duplication of the work intended for the Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU) of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
The unit investigates crimes of rape and sexual assault.
Moncherry said he believes that the VPU is doing a “marvelous” job.
“What we are looking to do is to create a new team that will assist them, and what we are putting in place is more of a patrol type team to assist in prevention and detection; so we are not saying that the Vulnerable Persons Unit is not working; I am satisfied with the work they are doing but we need to build on it.”
Responding to suggestions that people could increasingly take the law into their own hands because of the perceived slow pace of justice, Moncherry asserted that there was need to make a distinction between self-defense and vigilante justice.
He asserted that vigilante justice entails taking the law into one’s own hands and not seeking assistance from the police.
Nevertheless the Police Commissioner said that every citizen has the right to defend himself, his property or other persons.
He said citizens need to understand the distinction between defending themselves and meting out vigilante justice.
The issue of vigilante justice has arisen on the heels of a spate of rapes in various parts of the country, resulting in some women vowing to arm themselves and take matters into their own hands if they are targeted.