St Lucians who find themselves in legal trouble while travelling abroad could be forced to fend for themselves.
The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Incorporated says overseas consulates, funded by the St Lucian taxpayer, are not providing adequate representation to St Lucians facing trouble overseas.
Mary Francis pointed to a recent case involving a young St Lucian woman arrested in the UK who, she says, was not provided with consular assistance.
According to Ms. Francis the young woman did not receive even a visit from the St Lucia High Commission in the UK, as would be expected for nationals who land in trouble while in a foreign country.
The High Commission of St Lucia in London is headed by Ambassador Guy Mayers.
“The High Commission never gave her the assistance she required. She had to fend for herself and her family had to be coordinating from here in St Lucia and speaking to lawyers overseas,” Francis said.
Ms. Francis added: “They never went to see the young lady at the prison and this unacceptable.”
She said there was another incident where a young man was found to have illegal drugs planted in his luggage while travelling to Canada, and although he eventually won his case, he never received representation by the Consulate General of St Lucia in Toronto.
The Human Rights lawyer called out the St Lucia Consulates in the UK and Canada for failing to provide adequate representation regarding the representation of St Lucians in the past.
“Those are the offices which represent the state in the foreign country and if St Lucians are in trouble with the justice system or whatever problem they have they need to get representation from those people who are paid by taxpayers in St Lucia,” she added.