FORMER Saint Lucia High Commissioner in London, Dr Ernest Hilaire, has said that he is sure British interest in the criminal justice system here will be revived as a result of the death last Sunday of British national, Robert ‘Bob’ Hathaway.
Hilaire recalled at a news conference Monday that in the past there have been incidents where British nationals have been murdered in Saint Lucia.
“We have had three or four in the past few years,” the former High Commissioner stated.
Hilaire, who is also a member of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the MP for Castries South, recalled that when he was High Commissioner, the murders represented a significant issue for the British government.
He made specific reference to the killing here of British nationals Roger Pratt and Oliver Gobat.
Gobat was killed in April 2014.
“Certainly in the case of the Gobat murder, there was an attempt made for the British to actually get involved to assist our police in terms of forensic evidence and ensuring that there was a thorough investigation,” Hilaire told reporters.
But he noted that there were limitations, in that the British government was asking the then government of Saint Lucia to ensure that if somebody was found and convicted, they would not be given the death penalty.
Asserting that the issue ‘went back and forth’, Hilaire said it demonstrated that the British government and the British public expect the highest standards of policing and forensic work to ensure that whoever is responsible for those acts are brought to justice.
“It has continued to be a sore spot with yet again another British national unfortunately and regrettably losing his life in Saint Lucia,” he stated.
“I think you will all agree that since 2016 the criminal justice system has deteriorated even more in Saint Lucia,” Hilaire declared.
“We heard talk that once there was a new DPP all those matters would be dealt with. We are going on to the second year of the DPP and we still have outstanding matters,” he observed.
According to the Castries South MP, it would be interesting to see, over the next few days, whether the Minister of National Security will actually address the public on how Saint Lucia will deal with this matter.
“Certainly, from our experience, it is always a matter of grave concern whenever a national — and in this case a British national — loses his life,” he asserted.