Office of the DPP and RSLPF High Command - Caution to Media Fraternity
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, along with the High Command of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, has expressed concern with regards to the local media’s approach to the coverage of matters which are before the courts.
The media fraternity is therefore being called upon to exercise caution in interviewing and displaying the images of potential witnesses who may be on scenes of crime and/ or involved in ongoing police investigations.
It is a contempt of court under section 380 (1) (g) “to publish any matter which is intended to or is likely to prejudice the fair trial or conduct of criminal proceedings” and (h) “to publish any matter which prejudges issues which are to be tried or are being tried by the court”.
The co-operation of the media fraternity will be greatly appreciated.
In today’s world it is a sad reality that persons with disabilities often live on the margins of society, deprived of life’s fundamental experiences. They have little or no hope of going to school, getting a job, creating a family, socializing or voting. Persons with disabilities make up the world’s largest disadvantaged minority. Here in St. Lucia there are no accessible schools designated for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and no proper accommodating health care for disabled persons. Even current regulations designed to accommodate persons with disabilities are not regulated and reap no consequences when not adhered to. For example, there are parking spaces designated for handicapped persons yet able-bodied citizens take these spaces.
CP is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is a permanent life-long condition, but generally does not worsen over time. CP affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. People who have CP may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.
What happens to children with CP after preschool? Where do they go from there? Are they expected to stay home? There is absolutely nothing in place for these children. All children should have a right to learn and a right to an education. Children with CP may experience specific learning difficulties, which may include a short attention span, motor planning difficulties perceptual difficulties and language difficulties. With proper instruction and accommodations they are able to learn, listen and the fully understand everything taking place around them. As a society, we must support the creation of these opportunities. Terms such as ‘retarded’, ‘gorger’ and many other derogatory terms need to be addressed and not tolerated.
As parents, our greatest wish for our children is their independence and that one day they will be accepted by society. St. Lucia still has a long way to go in the support of disabled people; however, there has been a commendable start. Parents now receive a $200 grant from the government in the support of children with moderate to severe disabilities. This has helped in defraying some of the cost for weekly therapy sessions and medical care.
We must educate the public to reduce the amount of ignorance towards persons with a disability and move towards a more accepting society. We need to stand up for children suffering with disabilities. Let’s work together to ensure that they are able to attend a school, receive an education and become part of an accepting society. Too many children are being left home because there isn’t a facility or a school that will accept them due to their disabilities. We also need an accessible Special Education school with trained teachers. My hope is to one day see these children thriving in a positive and interactive learning environment. My vision is to see an accessible education system in place for children with physical disabilities so they too can experience the right to learn and grow. Crystal Leanne Louis is the Deputy Secretary of the Cerebral Palsy Association, Saint Lucia