The Government of Saint Lucia will appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate acts of alleged public corruption, according to the acting Governor General His Excellency Mr. Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles, yesterday.
His Excellency was at the time delivering the Throne Speech to a joint seating of the island’s parliament at the Opening of the Second Session of the Twelfth Parliament of Saint Lucia.
“My government will appoint a Special Prosecutor and enact the supporting relevant legislation necessary to conduct investigations into acts of alleged public corruption. It is the intention of my government that these investigations will be completed during the life of this Parliament. My government is aware of the public’s impatience regarding this matter and has been working assiduously so that the right mechanisms are in place to ensure investigations will be done in a legal, transparent and fair manner,” stated the acting governor.
Noting that a matter which featured repeatedly on the minds of Saint Lucians during the run-up to the 2021 General Elections was that of corruption Charles said that corruption creates waste and inefficiency in the delivery of vital services and must therefore be stamped out of the island’s public affairs with due haste and vigour.
“A government can have the best of plans but if it does not govern well, if corruption abounds, every plan will be rotten from the inside,”Charles said.
Government, Charles added, is asking the nation to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.
“My government will review and strengthen the Integrity in Public Life Act to hold public officials accountable to the people. My government will continue to strengthen the management of its public finances through the finalisation of the Regulations for the recently approved public finance management and procurement legislation,” Charles added.
He noted that in addition, a new Debt Bill will be brought to Parliament that will seek to amalgamate all the existing pieces of legislation that deal with debt into one comprehensive law as this will provide a more effective and cohesive framework for the management of Saint Lucia’s debts and liabilities.
Concerning citizen security H.E. Charles said that “all our economic efforts would come to naught if there is not a sense of peace and safety amongst our people (therefore) this unprecedented scourge of crime, particularly violent crime caused by illegal firearms, serves only to scar families, loved ones, communities and tarnish the reputation of our island.
“My government believes that Crime must be tackled scientifically and as a public health concern. While my government intends to equip the police even more and expand their resource base to fight crime, a multi-disciplinary approach must be sought to see long-term, sustainable abatement of crime and anti-social behaviour,” Charles said.
Government, Charles said, will reactivate the National Security Council to provide general oversight on all matters of security. Additionally, a National Crime Management Centre will be established to coordinate our response to crime across multiple agencies, not just the police and that government will introduce legislation to cause for stiffer penalties for illegal firearm and ammunition possession.