Am­bas­sador takes on ‘bro­ken jus­tice sys­tem’ and wins!


The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Wayne

Late Thurs­day evening France’s am­bas­sador is­sued what must cer­tainly rank among the short­est com­mu­niqués ever re­leased to the lo­cal press. Iron­i­cally, it con­cerned the most talked about mat­ter of a French na­tional who had been in­car­cer­ated at the Borde­lais Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity while await­ing trial for the mur­der of a Saint Lu­cian named Lu­cas Fran­cois four years ago.

On Jan­uary 14 this year, at a press con­fer­ence con­vened at the Pointe Seraphine head­quar­ters of Al­liance Fran­caise by the Bar­ba­dos-based Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner Vic­to­ria Dean, EU rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mikael Bar­ford and the Saint Lu­cia-based French am­bas­sador Eric de La Mous­saye, the last men­tioned com­plained about this coun­try’s “bro­ken jus­tice sys­tem.”

He added that even though the am­bas­sadors’ main pur­pose was to dis­cuss with the is­land’s prime min­is­ter mat­ters re­lated to his IMPACS in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the coun­try he rep­re­sented was es­pe­cially con­cerned with the plight of one par­tic­u­lar Borde­lais in­mate. It did not es­cape at­ten­dant jour­nal­ists that al­though five other French­men were in­car­cer­ated at the fa­cil­ity, France’s am­bas­sador iden­ti­fied just one of them, coin­ci­den­tally named Eric; Eric Som­mer.

It didn’t take long for some of the jour­nal­ists to un­cover the fact that Som­mer was no or­di­nary French­man. His con­nec­tions ex­tended to the high­est lev­els of the French govern­ment. As is now com­mon knowl­edge, this week the mur­der-ac­cused was per­mit­ted to plead guilty to the lesser charge of “vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter” and sen­tenced to four years. Which co­in­cided ex­actly with time al­ready served. The per­fect storm.

Of course the prime min­is­ter has of­ten un­der­scored the ex­ec­u­tive’s sep­a­ra­tion from the leg­isla­tive and ju­di­cial arms of the state. With ref­er­ence to the IMPACS re­port, the prime min­is­ter had de­liv­ered to the na­tion the fol­low­ing prom­ise: “I will not al­low the ex­ec­u­tive which I lead to transgress the prov­ince of the other two arms. I in­tend to fully con­tinue re­spect­ing that sa­cred sep­a­ra­tion.”

The vi­tal ques­tion now con­fronting Saint Lu­cians has less to do with the in­no­cence or guilt of Eric Som­mer than with whether this is­land’s prime min­is­ter was forced to eat his words and act in stark con­tra­dic­tion of his above­quoted state­ment on the evening of 20 Au­gust 2013.

As for the ear­lier men­tioned press re­lease, read aloud it sounds like noth­ing more than a man un­der pres­sure fi­nally able to ex­hale: “Af­ter four years the Som­mer case is closed. The trial which was an­tic­i­pated by the French au­thor­i­ties— at the high­est lev­els— was fi­nally held and led to the re­lease of Eric Som­mer. Mr. Som­mer left Saint Lu­cia that night.” (My em­pha­sis)

Who could ask for any­thing more? Cer­tainly not the French am­bas­sador, his freed name­sake or his lo­cal lawyer for the de­fense Mark Maragh. Maybe now the same mech­a­nism that served Mon­sieur Som­mer so well will do like­wise for the dozens who’ve been for years lan­guish­ing un­no­ticed at Borde­lais!

Res­i­dent French Am­bas­sador Eric de La Mous­saye

Prime min­is­ter Kenny An­thony: Did he keep his 2013 hands-off prom­ise

to the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia?

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