Attorney at Law, Mary Francis, asserting that a new direction has to be followed in Saint Lucia when it comes to policing, has said that police brutality has an economic impact on the country.
“I think we do not understand the impact of police brutality,” Francis told the Times.
The outspoken Attorney at Law explained that when the police brutalize citizens, the victims are unable to work.
Francis said this affects their livelihood.
She disclosed that when judgements are handed down in the courts against police officers who are found guilty of brutality and compensation has to be paid to victims, the money comes from taxpayers.
“Those monies could otherwise be invested in improving conditions in the justice system or used in upgrading police training, renovating police stations or in other areas of the economy so we have to bear this in mind,” the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights told the Times.
Francis said that human rights should be the bedrock of any incoming government.
She declared that a stop must be put to what she described as a culture of police brutality not only in Saint Lucia but the OECS as well.
“Yes the police have a right to protect themselves, but there are just too many cases,” Francis noted.
She observed that as Saint Lucia prepares for June 6, 2016 general elections, she has not heard anything on the political platforms regarding the justice system and improvements to it.
Francis said she has heard nothing from the two main political parties on the issue of improving human rights locally.
“We are waiting to hear something about that or see something in the manifestoes about that,” she told the Times.
“It is important for our society in terms of governance and the rule of law that whoever forms the new government must give priority to these matters,” the Attorney at Law said.