Mary Francis wants justice for the poor

Mary Francis wants justice for the poor

Human Rights campaigner, Mary Francis, has made another impassioned appeal for the government to provide equality, equity and access to justice for poor citizens, especially when human rights are violated.

Francis is the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights.

“I think the powers that be – they are not paying sufficient attention to the lack of access to justice for the poorer people in our midst,” she told St Lucia Times.

“We are existing in the situation where we have the United Kingdom civil procedure rules – they have been imported into our civil  procedure rules which govern our civil procedure rules for bringing matters before the High Court,” Francis observed.

She explained that this may have been practical at the time of introduction.

However Francis asserted that the cost to a small economically deprived country needs to be considered, as the poor are usually the ones who find themselves in conflict with the law because of social problems they experience.

“They don’t have legal problems, they have social problems which cause them to be  in conflict with the law – that must be recognised,” the Human Rights Activist declared.

The outspoken Attorney at Law noted that  because the High Court is prohibitive for the poor man, ‘ameliorating factors’ must be introduced.

“We have the question of mediation. Why is it that the executive, the cabinet,  and the Attorney General cannot actually subject themselves to mediation?” She asked, while observing that mediation is currently part of the justice system.

Francis told St Lucia Times that poor people are beaten and hurt by the police and do not have the money to seek legal redress in the courts .

She said the government legal aid system does not support those individuals.

“They have no money, so do you deny them justice? Why can’t the crown subject themselves to mediation?” Francis stated.

She expressed the view that in matters concerning the violation of rights, because it is too expensive for poor people to go to the courts, the government should set up a tribunal to deal with matters pertaining to human rights and policing.

“Have this tribunal to look at the facts and on the merit, compensate those people – monetary compensation,” Francis told St Lucia Times.

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13 Comments

  1. Curious
    August 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm Reply

    I am curious to know what definition (qualifying criteria) we use in St Lucia to categorize people as poor.

    Cause except in cases where people are either incapable by age, (too, young or too old) mental or physical impairment, or deprived by some other dynamic beyond their control, or oppressed by some authority, poverty can be a choice in my opinion.

    So what does poor mean in St Lucia?

    1. Merciful
      August 30, 2017 at 2:32 pm Reply

      You are a clown, you do not know what poor means?

      1. Anonymous
        August 31, 2017 at 9:03 am Reply

        Lol. This one caught my attention. R Lucian’s that illiterate.

    2. Anonymous
      August 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm Reply

      @Curious. Are you genuinely serious? Poverty can be a choice? This is what the privileged and elitist think. They cannot commiserate with the plight of the poor as they have lived lavished lifestyles. There are many indigent people because of lack of financial resources, don’t have access to legal representation. We need lawyers to step up and do some pro bono work. Systems should be put in place to assist them. “Curious’, you look down from your pedestal on the poor with scorn. The only time you should look down on people is when you are helping them up after a fall.

      Vibz

  2. Anonymous
    August 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm Reply

    I think the lawyers should take it upon themselves to help the poor when their human rights are violated. With so many lawyers available on the island, if every lawyer represent one poor person at a time things would be different.

  3. Train to lie
    August 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm Reply

    (Mary Francis) “go hide under a rocku are a trouble maker”

  4. Anonymous
    August 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm Reply

    ST Lucia have….poor people…but the system sucks…real bad…..Mary…I know .Wat u talking about…trust me….I know…I must have money ….no lawyers…would ever look at u. …because ù are poor…u would not be able to pay them

  5. True
    August 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm Reply

    Mary is correct. We need to stop being mischievous and read to understand.

  6. 666 - No Political Affiliation
    August 30, 2017 at 10:33 pm Reply

    I agree with her this time.

  7. Anonymous
    August 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm Reply

    Must say she actually makes sense to me this time around..

  8. Lucianman101
    August 31, 2017 at 8:54 am Reply

    There should be a requirement of 100hrs of pro-bono work for a lawyer to be allowed to operate in this country

  9. Anonymous
    September 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply

    There is a Legal Aid Authority located upstairs the Ministry of Legal Affairs building, 1st Floor, Brazil Street. Much assistancr, guidance, advice and representation is given there.

  10. Legal Aid Director
    September 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm Reply

    There is a Legal Aid Authority in Saint Lucia which offers various services to the poor and underprivileged. It is located on the 1st Floor of the Ministry of Legal Affairs Building on Brazil Street. Opens to the public Monday to Thursday 8 am to 4:30 pm. There are currently two attorneys attached to the department.

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