Former Home Affairs and National Security Minister Dr. Keith Mondesir, asserting that Saint Lucia is not harsh enough on criminals, has criticised the second round of parole hearings that concluded recently at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).
The parole board is due to deliver its verdict in the case of three inmates who are serving life sentences.
In a historic move in December 2020, the board granted early release to two male inmates who had served 20 years of their sentences for murder.
But Dr. Keith Mondesir declared that both the timing and the decisions in those matters are wrong.
“In my opinion murder is one of the worst crimes that any human being can inflict on another and for you to tell me that’s the example that you are going to set to control crime?” He said.
“You have to send a strong message in the society that this is wrong and the puishment will be harsh and brutal. The reason why in Saint Lucia we are not progressing in crime is because we are too lenient in the panalties,” Mondesir told St Lucia Times.
The former Minister had previously suggested no bail for anyone caught with a weapon, whether gun or knife.
In addition, he has supported a mandatory minimum penalty of twenty-five years in jail for gun crime and a maximum of fifty years with consecutive sentencing in the case of convictions on multiple charges.
Local officials have said that the parole hearings are in keeping with international practices, but Mondesir told St Lucia Times that’s ‘hogwash’, declaring that one size does not fit all.
In this regard, he observed that each situation is unique and pointed to the example of the United States, where some states carry out executions, and others don’t.
“You have to look at your situation in Saint Lucia,” Mondesir expressed.
Saint Lucia has so far chalked up a record 74 homicides so far for this year.