Saint Lucia: The Land of Missing the Point
Two weeks ago the announced that the Justice for Roger Campaign was about to make one more play for justice. After Margaret Pratt's public letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Daarsrean Greene, fell on deaf ears, Margaret resorted to thinking of other ways to get a response. In the August 19th, 2017 issue of the STAR, it was reported that Margaret and some other victims of crime in Saint Lucia had decided to come together to let their voices be heard.
A few days after our story was published, Margaret's campaign, Justice for Roger, released a video of three women speaking about their experience with the Saint Lucian Justice system. In less than a week the video had been viewed over 100,000 times on Facebook, and shared over a thousand times. According to Margaret Pratt's campaign manager, the reaction from the international public is not surprising.
In the video Margaret Pratt, Anne Pearson and Georgina Mortimer expressed their frustration and the state of oblivion in which they remain because of lack of communication from the Crown Prosecution Service. They also voiced concerns about the amount of crime on the island, and the fact that nothing is being done to address the situation by the relevant authorities.
Contrary to the perception of some viewers that the video was created with a motive of tarnishing the reputation of the island, Georgina Mortimer stated, “The last thing I want to do is malign the general population of Saint Lucia because I was treated very kindly, for example by the staff at the hospital who had dealt with me after I'd been [sexually] assaulted. But these people have been profoundly let down by their police, by their judicial system and I think that that's very wrong also.”
Far from the objective of the three women, the video also met accusations of racism, with some viewers going so far as calling on the island's prime minister to take the video down.
The historical significance of Saint Lucia's colonization was brought into focus, with others blaming the era of slavery for the fact that the country was still suffering from dysfunctional systems and structures: “I am very, very sorry these women are hurting but let's be honest folks, England has to be blamed for the islands being the way they are,” a woman wrote. “After years of colonialism they had to gain independence so that life could be better for the people. So please be patient with us as we try to be a better people after years of nothing but God save our gracious queen. I pray that you guys get justice, God bless.”
The comments were not complete without the most popular sentiment: “Crime happens everywhere, don't make Saint Lucia look like a bad place."
The Justice for Roger Campaign issued an article on August 25th, 2017 in response to the comments. It stated, “To those in St Lucia that have criticized us online, we say that we didn't publish this film lightly. It was done as a result of years of frustration with a justice system that moves ponderously slowly and consistently fails to engage with victims. We have no desire to harm the tourist trade, but to ensure those contemplating a trip to St Lucia are aware it has a dangerous side – including one of the highest homicide rates in the world – and that it is possible they'll be left high and dry if something bad happens to them.”
Shortly after the video was made public, Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, Noorani Azeez, made a public statement on the St. Lucia Times indicating that the island's tourist market would suffer if Saint Lucia fails to deal with the issue of crime and poor execution of justice. The article quoted from Azeez: “As a country – as a people we have got to do what we can to be vigilant and address these issues. But you know, it is one thing to talk the talk but it is another thing to walk the walk.”
At press time, Director of Public Prosecutions Daarsrean Greene was out of state and, once more, was unavailable to comment.