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Royal Saint Lucia Police Force responds to non approval of the Black Lives Matter Rally, for the time requested, but reaffirms their solidarity with the world on Black Lives Matter Movement

The Acting Commissioner of Police of the Royal St Lucia Police Force, Mr. Milton Desir, is standing in solidarity with Saint Lucians and the rest of the world, in light of the death of George Floyd and many other lives taken as a result of police brutality, discrimination and any other forms of violence. Mr. Desir encourages all police officers to undertake their duties diligently within the ambits of the law, by respecting human rights and recently communicated to the members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force via a video address to observe Human Rights and the Use of Force Policy whilst carrying out their duties.

Image of Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir [PHOTO: PhotoMike]

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, an application was received from organizers of Black Lives Matter Saint Lucia, with the subject “Black Lives Matter Saint Lucia Rally” seeking permission to hold a rally at Constitution Park, Castries, on Friday, June 12, 2020, commencing at 9:00 a.m. for a duration of three hours. The application indicated that approximately three hundred (300) persons were expected to be in attendance.  We have realized that permission may be granted for other activities such as religious services, etc. on a case by case basis under the strict protocols of the Chief Medical Officer.

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer, the decision to not approve the application at this time, was taken based on the current law in relation to the Emergency Powers (Disasters) (COVID-19) (N0. 8) Order 2020 on restrictions for mass crowd events and also factoring the health risk. The current law does not allow the Commissioner of Police to approve such an event, at this time, scheduled for Friday, June 12, 2020.  The Acting Commissioner continues to have further consultation with the Chief Medical Officer on the stages in which Saint Lucia will be permitted to hold mass crowd events in a safe manner, during COVID-19 pandemic, with the required amendments to the law to permit these events.

Thus far, Saint Lucia has been spared by the mass spread and deaths caused by COVID-19, compared to the rest of the world. The Acting Commissioner also has a responsibility to adhere to the laws related to safeguarding the health of residents, with the primary guidance from the law and always in conjunction with the Chief Medical Officer.

Once the laws can safely be relaxed, the Acting Commissioner will be in a position to legally approve such mass crowd events.  In the interim, he urges Saint Lucians to feel free to share their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, via other mediums with the rest of the world, until such time that we can publicly express our views safely through a mass crowd event.

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