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FORENSIC LAB BACK SOON – DPP Welcomes Phased Re-Opening

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecution, Daarsrean Greene is pleased with news that the forensic science laboratory at Tapion will soon be re-opened.

National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis made the announcement yesterday at a press conference.

Image: FLASHBACK: The opening of the lab in December 2009
FLASHBACK: The opening of the lab in December 2009

“There are many matters pending in the system that we need to have certain testing done,” an elated Greene said.

But neither Francis nor the newly appointed director of the facility, Ms. Fernanda Henry could precisely point to a date for the re-opening of the lab.

Both said the re-opening will be conducted in phases but could not say how many phases were involved.

But this did not disappoint Greene who said that he was eagerly awaiting the first day of the lab’s re-opening.

“We welcome this phased re-opening of the lab. It is a very great move by the government to deal with it in this manner,” Greene said.

The DPP was appointed to the post last October and given a one year contract to deal with the extra-judicial killings making up the IMPACS affair, reduce a backlog of cases clogging the high court and recommend areas within his office in need of strengthening.

The forensic science lab was closed in may 2015 due to improprieties in the handling of evidence and in the security of the facility. An investigative audit was conducted into evidence tampering within the facility and other shortcomings.

That audit is now completed and according to Francis it is now in the hands of Greene who declined to comment on it. However, Francis said that Greene will make a determination regarding any necessary action based on all available information.

Image: Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Daarsrean Greene [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
Director of Public Prosecutions, Daarsrean Greene. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
Government, Francis said, is cognizant of the pivotal role the lab plays in criminal investigations and the importance of its re-opening to provide scientific support to the Police Force.

“However there is need to proceed in a careful and proper manner. Considering this and the different factors currently at play, it is our intention to introduce a phased re-opening of the facility in a manageable environment. It is our hope that such a phased approach will facilitate the transition into full operation,” Francis said.

He added that government is committed to doing everything necessary to ensure that credibility and confidence in the lab are upheld.

Image of Home Affairs Minister, Hermangild Francis
Home Affairs Minister, Hermangild Francis

“The facility is now under new leadership and support personnel will be provided to assist in areas of technical operations, staff training and development. Current staff has been screened and vetted. A new security system has been installed. Standard operating procedures have been reviewed and amended to international standards. Similarly all laboratory protocols have been reviewed to ensure that the improprieties of the past do not reoccur,” Francis said.

The current news on the lab does not obliterate the possibility of it being managed under a joint private/public partnership which was an earlier prerogative of the government.

Francis said government still has the idea of a partnership of the private and public sector where the lab is concerned.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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