French Am­bas­sador says treat­ment of re­mand pris­on­ers shame­ful!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Toni Ni­cholas

At a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day at the Al­liance Fran­caise build­ing at Pointe Seraphine an EU del­e­ga­tion dis­closed that not only are the 28 mem­bers states com­mit­ted to re­solv­ing the IMPACS scan­dal but they also need to be as­sured that Saint Lu­cia fol­lows the rule of law, es­pe­cially as it per­tains to Hu­man Rights and due process.

The del­e­ga­tion com­prised Mikael Bar­fod, Am­bas­sador/ Head of the Del­ga­tion of the Euro­pean Union to the East­ern Caribbean Coun­tries, based in Bar­ba­dos; Vic­to­ria Dean, Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner based in Bar­ba­dos and Eric de La Mous­saye, Am­bas­sador of France, based in Saint Lu­cia. They met with the press fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony. (More on that on page 5.)

Ac­cord­ing to Mikael Bar­fod, aside from the “high pro­file” IMPACS re­port, the lo­cal jus­tice sys­tem is in dire need of an over­haul: “The crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Saint Lu­cia needs to be im­proved. There is a cur­rent back­log of cases and too many ad­journ­ments that have re­sulted in long de­lays, no jus­tice and a sense of im­punity that is dan­ger­ous to so­ci­ety.”

Asked to com­ment on Saint Lu­cia’s re­ten­tion of the death penalty, Bar­fod said: “We be­lieve that the time is now to tackle this, even though we know that for many Caribbean coun­tries there have not been ex­e­cu­tions. The next step is to take the death penalty off the books.”

Eric de La Mous­saye, Am­bas­sador of France, was asked about his per­sis­tant calls for the govern­ment to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion of re­mand pris­on­ers.

He re­vealed that there had not been a day in two years that this is­sue has not been of ma­jor con­cern.

“I have had many meet­ings with the prime min­is­ter and with the min­is­ter of home affairs and jus­tice,” he said. “My pres­i­dent has had meet­ings in France with the prime min­is­ter. He speaks about this prob­lem not only for the French. I think that if we suc­ceed on be­half of our French cit­i­zens we will suc­ceed for oth­ers who are for many years in prison.”

He added: “We have never stopped the di­a­logue with the govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia but we re­spect the law. How­ever, when there is a de­nial of jus­tice where hu­man rights are con­cerned, we are com­pletely in­volved and I prom­ise you we won’t con­tinue like this with­out do­ing some­thing more.”

Presently more than half (ap­prox­i­mately 340) of the Borde­lais pop­u­la­tion is re­mand pris­on­ers. The French Am­bas­sador con­firmed that there were at the cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity “six French na­tion­als, one of whom has been on re­mand for more than four years with­out a trial—and that’s a shame.”

Eric de La Mous­saye, Am­bas­sador of France,

speak­ing to re­porters on Thurs­day.

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