The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Clau­dia Elei­box

Hours af­ter the 24 March 2017 quarry ex­plo­sion that shook up the is­land in more ways than one, the act­ing police com­mis­sioner Mil­ton De­sir and fire chief Joseph Joseph as­sured me­dia per­son­nel that ev­i­dence col­lected at the scene had been sent abroad for anal­y­sis. But as March moved into April, May and June it seemed the na­tion was run­ning out of pa­tience.

Cu­ri­ously, sur­vivors of the ex­plo­sion were re­luc­tant to talk about the hor­ror that had taken four lives and left a num­ber of work­ers badly in­jured. Even the rel­a­tives of the dead re­fused to an­swer re­porters’ ques­tions. As for the quarry’s op­er­a­tor, Rayneau Ga­jad­har Group of Com­pa­nies, other than an ini­tial state­ment, it con­tin­ues to main­tain a stony si­lence.

In April Her­mangild Fran­cis, the na­tional se­cu­rity min­is­ter, is­sued a re­lated state­ment: “I want the pub­lic to un­der­stand the gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous about get­ting to the bot­tom of what hap­pened.” He said in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the U.S. had vis­ited the is­land and were in the process of pre­par­ing a re­port that would be passed on to the police.

On Mon­day this week Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet ex­pressed his per­sonal dis­ap­point­ment that so much time had elapsed since the ex­plo­sion with­out a res­o­lu­tion. “We also have the mat­ter of the out­stand­ing bills for the in­di­vid­u­als who had to be flown to Mar­tinique for treat­ment.” By all the prime min­is­ter said, the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies will do noth­ing un­til there has been a ju­di­cial res­o­lu­tion.

The PM added: “I have had dis­cus­sions with the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions cen­tred on bring­ing this whole mat­ter to a close.” He gave his as­sur­ance: “There will be no pro­cras­ti­na­tion on our part. We’ve sim­ply been al­low­ing the process to take its reg­u­lar course.”

The DPP an­nounced this week that his of­fice was in re­ceipt of a police re­port. No one was in a po­si­tion to say when it would fi­nally make its way to court!

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