Much Needed Forensic Laboratory May Be Re-opened
The Saint Lucia Forensic Laboratory was opened in December 2009 and for the length of its questionable functionality there have been back-and-forth allegations between lab specialists, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Royal Saint Lucian Police Force concerning its contribution to solving crime. On May 6, 2015 the laboratory was closed due to issues relating to the security of evidence and relevant standards for running such a unit. Since then the government has been exploring all options available for solving crimes, particularly murder and rape, aside from having our own DNA testing and forensic science laboratory. The cost for viable options has proved very expensive.
On February 24, 2017 the Honourable Hermangild Francis, Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Dr. Cadelia Ambrose, P.S. in the Department of Justice, Daasrean Greene, Acting Director of Public Prosecution, Milton Desir, Acting Commissioner of the RSLPF and Fernanda Henry, Director of Forensic Science Services met with the media to announce the possible reopening of the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The Saint Lucian government believes that the Forensic Science Lab is crucial for effective local investigations. In its initial existence the laboratory was also meant to serve other OECS countries providing an additional source of income for Saint Lucia.
The Forensic Science Laboratory will be undergoing a phased re-opening to ensure that all issues are addressed going forward.
Soon after its closing in 2015 it was noted that the building suffered some damage that needed repair. Fernanda Henry stated that the structure is now fit to be occupied.
Necessary screening and vetting are in order for qualified staff, which had been previously problematic. And finally, the complication of ineffective security systems will be duly addressed.
At this week’s press conference government representatives emphasized that the possibility of a public-private partnership of the laboratory has not been abandoned and is still being considered.