Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute believes it is time to revisit the law that criminalises attempted suicide.
“People don’t just stay and arbitrarily decide to take their lives,” he told reporters Thursday.
The Gros Islet MP asserted that life is someone’s most prized possession.
He expressed the view that when someone gets to the stage where they are contemplating suicide, it means they are grappling with problems and need help.
“So to attack the person who needs help, so to speak, is not the answer – support is what is required and I think a different approach has to be taken,” Montoute stated.
He said he would ‘definitely’ support legislative reform on the issue of suicide.
Montoute spoke as a session got underway with representatives of faith-based organisations and other groups to discuss domestic violence, child abuse and suicide.
The event at the Gros Islet Human Resource Centre was organised by the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), in collaboration with the Ministry for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment and the Parish Priest for Gros Islet.
According to Saint Lucia’s Criminal Code, a person who attempts to commit suicide is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 2 years.
In addition, a person who aids and abets the commission of suicide by any person, whether or not the suicide is actually committed, is liable on indictment to imprisonment for 20 years.
Earlier this month, opposition leader Philip J. Pierre lamented that Saint Lucia had recorded seven suicides – the majority of the victims being men.
Pierre declared that seven suicides are seven too many.