The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By An­gel­ica O' DonoghueHolder

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet has been lob­by­ing for as­sis­tance in restor­ing Saint Lu­cia’s bro­ken jus­tice sys­tem.

Saint Lu­cia has been down­graded from a hu­man's rights per­spec­tive. So re­ported the is­land's prime min­is­ter, Mr. Allen Chas­tanet, at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day. He said that dur­ing their re­cent 8-day trip over­seas, he and agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Ezechiel Joseph had met with per­son­nel from the jus­tice depart­ment in Lon­don to dis­cuss much needed as­sis­tance for the is­land's jus­tice sys­tem.

Chas­tanet in­di­cated his trips over­seas were not state vis­its, as such. He and his agri­cul­tural min­is­ter had seized the op­por­tu­nity while in the UK to lobby for con­tin­ued fi­nan­cial sup­port from the DDP's of­fice in Lon­don. Re­sources are also be­ing sought for a new court­house, judges, mag­is­trates and other per­son­nel, per­chance to re­store the bro­ken lo­cal jus­tice sys­tem.

The gov­ern­ment's most press­ing prob­lem is the lo­cal DPP's of­fice, which has been with­out a di­rec­tor since the for­mal de­par­ture of Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke in Jan­uary 2016. How­ever the of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions has been es­sen­tially va­cant since De­cem­ber 2015 when the then DPP went on pre- re­tire­ment leave, un­der a del­uge of bad blood from her re­la­tion­ship with the gov­ern­ment.

At the time of CharlesClarke's de­par­ture, the for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity min­is­ter, Vic­tor LaCorbiniere, im­plied her de­par­ture would fur­ther com­pli­cate mat­ters re­lat­ing to the progress of the IMPACS re­port. Al­though there have been of­fi­cial de­nials, the pop­u­lar word is that there is no great rush of can­di­dates seek­ing to re­place CharlesClarke while IMPACS re­mains un­re­solved.

Unattrac­tive com­pen­sa­tion seems to be the de­ter­rent. PM Chas­tanet in­formed the me­dia that the DDP's “salary has since been lifted to grade 21, hope­fully to get a DPP at least on a con­trac­tual ba­sis". This move is cur­rently un­der es­pe­cially care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion since the po­si­tion of DPP is a con­sti­tu­tional one and may in­volve le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions. The prime min­is­ter em­pha­sized that the gov­ern­ment is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice on the mat­ter. The gov­ern­ment may well have to con­sider the op­tion of plac­ing the post even higher than grade 21. The es­ti­mated cost to tax­pay­ers was not men­tioned.

St.Kitts re­cently ap­pointed a new DPP af­ter a long-winded process, with a salary pack­age of over EC$25,000 monthly.

For­mer Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke. She re­tired in Jan­uary but ap­pli­ca­tions for her job are few and far be­tween.

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