Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- In a statement on Friday, the prime minister of Saint Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony, described as “misplaced and unjustified” assertions made by the US embassy in Barbados that no meaningful action has been taken by his government to prosecute those who are alleged to have engaged in extra-judicial killings.
While welcoming the statement released on Tuesday
by the US embassy as “clarifying” its position in relation to the prosecution of those who are alleged to have engaged in extra-judicial killings in Saint Lucia between 2010 and 2011, Anthony stated that the executive branch of government has done everything it can within its constitutional authority.
“Whilst the embassy has quite rightly noted there has been no meaningful progress towards a criminal prosecution in the last ten months of those who are alleged to have committed ‘extra-judicial killings’, the embassy’s suggestion that this is or was due to inaction on the part of the prime minister or the government of Saint Lucia is misplaced and unjustified,” he said.
Anthony claimed that the executive’s role in the matter was fulfilled upon presentation of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) report on the allegations to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) ten months ago, in March 2015.
“Indeed, the director of public prosecutions herself publicly stated that she never read the report until a full six months following her receipt of it. Up until the time that the DPP proceeded on pre-retirement leave, in December of 2015, she never requested the government of Saint Lucia to facilitate her in interviewing the investigators, whether in Saint Lucia or Jamaica,” he said.
Anthony also refuted the assertions by the DPP that her office was not provided with the requisite resources to prosecute the matter.
“The issue about prosecuting those who may have committed alleged criminal offences has never been one about resources. Firstly, the government of Saint Lucia made provision in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2015/2016 for the appointment of two special prosecutors to assist her to prosecute those who may have committed criminal acts, if she deemed it necessary. She never made use of these resources,” he pointed out.
Anthony said that his government remains steadfastly committed to the rule of the law, and remains as anxious as the United States to ensure that justice is done and the human rights of all of its citizens are protected in accordance with the constitution.
“But, as recognised by the embassy itself, our constitution guarantees the independence of the individual arms of government. Consequently, it would be unlawful for the executive to impose its will on a matter that is now clearly within the purview of the judicial arm of the state,” he said, asserting that the executive has done everything within its constitutional authority.
“The executive brought to Parliament legislation to allow for the investigations into the alleged extra-judicial killings to be undertaken by a body other than the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. It placed at the disposal of the investigating team all of the required resources, and once the report was completed, in keeping with the provisions of our laws to appoint the investigating team, it was passed on to the DPP. In pursuing justice, government cannot itself be breaking laws. The Office of the DPP must, when it is properly constituted, be true to its mandate and prosecute this matter at its earliest,” Anthony noted.
He added that the government of Saint Lucia will continue to work closely with the government of the United States to resolve these issues in the interest of ensuring that justice is served.
US embassy calls on St Lucia to uphold the rule of law