Outspoken Attorney at Law and Human Rights Advocate, Mary Francis, has urged the people of this country not to allow blind allegiance to a political party to prevent them from speaking out against wrongdoing.
Francis spoke in the context of the ongoing unresolved saga involving alleged extrajudicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), during an anti-crime crackdown dubbed ‘Operation Restore Confidence’ between 2010-2011.
Appearing Wednesday night on DBS Television’s Newsmaker Live with Timothy Poleon, Francis declared that there’s something to gain politically if security forces are hard on criminals, when voters are complaining.
“Their lives are threatened – they want something done,” she noted.
However, the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights declared that citizens must speak out against human rights violations.
“When you speak out for those people who were probably killed or manhandled or whose human rights are violated by the state in contravention of the constitution, you are speaking out for all of us because the same constitution gives us the right and those people are human beings,” Francis explained.
And she asserted that although individuals may have run afoul of the law and harmed others, they still remain human beings and should not be dehumanised.
In this regard, Francis pointed out that the police must behave lawfully and should they use deadly force, it ought to be justified by a court of law.
“The citizens have to wake up from being passive and divorce themselves from partisan politics to criticise your government. As a matter of fact you will ensure that the party becomes stronger and the government is at an acceptable level. So without criticism how can things change?” Francis stated.
And she expressed the view that silence will only allow iniquity to flourish.