The reality of crime & murder in St Lucia
The face of paradise bears an ugly scar: St Lucia has the world’s 16th-highest murder rate. The courts are clogged and lead times for trials are long.
But while the murder of Roger Pratt attracted international media attention, a rare occurrence for a crime that happens so commonly on the island, the failure to bring the suspects to trial in a timely fashion, is much more common. As the time of writing, there have been 19 murders on the island already this year.
As Terry Finisterre, a writer based in Saint Lucia put it: "Sadly, miscarriage of justice applies to all too many Saint Lucians as well."
Margaret is aware that Roger’s is a relatively high-profile case, which makes her wonder about the bigger picture of justice in St Lucia.
She said recently: “If it is not going to be resolved for me then it is certainly not going to be resolved for other people in St Lucia. And it seems to me a fundamental tenet of democracy that people should be able to rely on investigations and the judicial process [being carried out] in a timely and appropriate fashion. And I’m not sure that the people of St Lucia can have confidence in those processes.”
Crime & murder in St Lucia
- St Lucia has the world’s 16th-highest murder rate – 21 a year per 100,000 inhabitants
- In 2014, St Lucia was ranked in the top 10 most dangerous cruise destinations in the world
- In 2013, 55 tourists were robbed at gunpoint while visiting the Botanical Gardens in Soufriere, St Lucia
Advice for visitors to St Lucia
The UK Foreign Office's website advises visitors to St Lucia to "be vigilant at all times" and makes them aware of "incidents of crime including murder, armed robbery and sexual assault" It recommends avoiding "isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark."