Francis calls for Commission to appoint Diplomats

Outspoken Human Rights Activist, Mary Francis, has called for the appointment of a special commission to appoint Saint Lucian diplomats.

“I am not saying that the political parties  when they form the government they cannot select  the persons of their own persuasion, but to ensure that we get the best type of representation we should have a committee or a commission in place ,” Francis told the Times.

The Attorney at Law explained that the body could select from a cadre of persons who are nominated.

She noted that in the United States, the Senate has to confirm some appointments.

Francis asserted that the time has come when the persons who represent Saint Lucia overseas are trained in international relations and international trade.

According to her, appointments should not be based solely on political party affiliation.

Her comments were made against the backdrop of the appointment of former National Security Minister, Guy Mayers, as Saint Lucia’s High Commissioner to London.

The appointment came despite concerns expressed via an opposition letter to the Prime Minister that was copied to the British High Commission, calling attention to the former Minister’s alleged role in Operation Restore Confidence, an anti crime campaign that resulted in the alleged extrajudicial killing of twelve suspects.

The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights observed that Saint Lucia’s overseas representatives may have to act on behalf of Saint Lucians whose rights are violated by immigration authorities.

She disclosed that Saint Lucians overseas are seeking her help and she is unable to assist.

“Right next door in Martinique there is a Saint Lucian who is a suspected case of trafficking – she actually sought the assistance of our Consulate in Martinique; up to now I have written the Minister of Foreign Affairs in recent times – not a word,” Francis told the Times.

The Human Rights Activist noted that with the heightened spate of criminal activity in Saint Lucia persons  who are witnesses to crime and are afraid of reprisals are  “running” overseas to places like England and Canada to seek refugee status.

However she said that was not a basis for gaining refugee status.

“I am trying to assist a woman in England right now who was a witness to a crime and only recently – in July I think, her brother was murdered,” Francis revealed.

She said the British authorities are wondering whether the woman qualifies for residence in the UK.

Francis spoke of  cases in Canada where gay persons were seeking refugee status, claiming  they were victims of persecution.

The Attorney at Law told the Times that those were important issues – the protection of citizens at home.

“We need Witness Protection schemes so that Saint Lucians will not have to run overseas and try to invoke  some kind of refugee status to gain residence in the UK or Canada – these are issues that we have to find solutions to, so I am saying that we have to be careful when we appoint those persons so that we can get credible  representation overseas,” Francis declared.

She spoke of the need to ensure that government serves the people.

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