Hermangild Francis

National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has raised questions about the opposition by the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), to the demolition of the building  on upper Bridge Street that housed the Castries prison.

The SLNT on Sunday got the High Court to issue an order to halt the demolition and other works on the site.

“For the almost 20 years that the prison was there being used for all sorts of illegal activity, I mean when persons actually had to go in there to cut the bush and everything, you had to use water boots because of the amount of filth and human excreta and other things that were there and if the trust had any interest in that building, why wait until something is actually being done to the building to come forward?” Francis stated.

“It is very, very strange. I don’t know their motive, but I think this is the best place and the police deserve a proper police headquarters,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner asserted.

He explained that two buildings on the site will be preserved.

Francis recalled that head of the R.G Group of Companies, Rayneau Gajadhar, did some work on one of the buildings but because of the age of the structure, there was some water seepage.

“There was talk of demolishing that one but Mr. Gajadher has come forward and indicated that he does not mind spending any amount of money to keep the facade of that building.”

The minister said he would be happy if the facade of the two buildings could be kept, as the buildings have “some history.”

“But the prison, what is the history of the prison? Criminals who raped our women and killed our women and were hanged?”  Francis said.

“Our intention is to build a brand new spanking police headquarters which I think the police officers deserve, so that the traffic department, the CID and everybody can get a home. There will be facilities where police officers can get some training, relaxation – that sort of thing and the second thing is to build a Hall of Justice for the criminal courts.”

“We talk about justice and access to justice and when the government is now putting a courthouse where we are going to have at least the criminal division to be held, then you get that sort of fight back and it is really depressing,” Francis said Thursday.

On Wednesday the Police Welfare Association (PWA)  called on the ‘powers that be’ to allow the building that housed the prison on upper Bridge Street in Castries to be torn down.

“PWA finds it rather absurd that at this juncture there is a call, and even an injunction against the demolition of the old HMP building,” the  Association said in a written statement to St Lucia Times.
The organisation observed the prison site is an ideal location for the erection of the Fire Service and Police Headquarters.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Sirs, it would appear that the PWA and the MOLA are incriminating themselves by sleeping on the job….criminal activities and so on, in your own backyard….sounds like dereliction of Duty!

    Dereliction of duty is a specific offense under United States Code Title 10, Section 892, Article 92 and applies to all branches of the US military. A service member who is derelict has willfully refused to perform his duties (or follow a given order) or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties. Such incapacitation includes the person falling asleep while on duty requiring wakefulness, his getting drunk or otherwise intoxicated and consequently being unable to perform his duties, shooting himself and thus being unable to perform any duty, or his vacating his post contrary to regulations. Article 92 also applies to service members whose acts or omissions rise to the level of criminally negligent behavior. The first such case charged occurred during World War II, when Army Air Force Lieutenants William Sincock and Theodore Balides were court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they mistakenly dropped bombs on Zürich, a city of Switzerland, which was a neutral country during that war. Both men were later acquitted.[1]

    • “For the almost 20 years that the prison was there being used for all sorts of illegal activity,”

      That;s the real story here.

  2. I would appear that the PWA and the National Security Minister are incriminating themselves for dereliction of duty by sleeping on the job. …. criminals and so no…..in your own backyard. That begs the question, who is in charge of security, law and order?

    Dereliction of duty is a specific offense under United States Code Title 10, Section 892, Article 92 and applies to all branches of the US military. A service member who is derelict has willfully refused to perform his duties (or follow a given order) or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties. Such incapacitation includes the person falling asleep while on duty requiring wakefulness, his getting drunk or otherwise intoxicated and consequently being unable to perform his duties, shooting himself and thus being unable to perform any duty, or his vacating his post contrary to regulations. Article 92 also applies to service members whose acts or omissions rise to the level of criminally negligent behavior. The first such case charged occurred during World War II, when Army Air Force Lieutenants William Sincock and Theodore Balides were court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they mistakenly dropped bombs on Zürich, a city of Switzerland, which was a neutral country during that war. Both men were later acquitted.[1]

  3. It’s my hope that the ruling by this judge will be reviewed seriously and have this judge disciplined for playing politics on the bench

  4. It is a pity, you all are the law makers of this country, but you don’t respect the law. Don’t we have a housing code in this country? Was it fully respected in this demolition programe? Give the Judge time to examine the documents that are before him, my dear minister of our government, and let’s see what will happen, one can always appeal to the judge’s decision, so why hurry.

  5. A facade of the building can be preserved. By taking that approach, everybody win. This is not a difficult solution.

  6. It is a pity, you all are the law makers of this country, but you don’t respect the law. Don’t we have a housing code in this country? Was it fully respected in this demolition program? Give the Judge time to examine the documents that are before him, my dear minister of our government, and let’s see what will happen, one can always appeal to the judge’s decision, so why hurry.

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