Open letter to Mr Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister, Government of St Lucia
Dear Prime Minister
Roger Pratt Case
First of all I thank you for referencing my husband Roger’s murder case so frequently in your communications. It is good to know that you recognise the frustration of the continuing delays in bringing cases to trial and the need to improve the performance of the criminal justice system in St Lucia.
However, the problems are not all systemic. Basic issues of commitment, competence and a culture of disrespect in parts of the criminal justice system bring St Lucia into disrepute. As you will be aware, the case management hearing in the Roger Pratt case collapsed disastrously on 7 July 2017 when the expert witness failed to attend and the prosecuting counsel had not even the professionalism to ensure the file was available.
The interim DPP promised to take my husband’s case under his personal control, but seems unable to drive the progress he knows is needed. He has promised information; but, again, he too has failed to deliver on his promises.
Prime Minister, the fundamental challenges you face are not about investment in the criminal justice system. The problem is that at every level professionals evidence, through their behaviours, a fundamental disrespect and lack of care for the judicial system and the people who are struggling to obtain justice for their loved ones.
I have a warm affection for the people of St Lucia who have treated me with great kindness. But behaviours as witnessed last week only bring the St Lucia brand into greater disrepute, and we are already seeing the impact in lower tourist numbers.
I appeal to you to drive the improvements at every level of the criminal justice system, and will be pleased to give praise when it is due.
With Kind Regards