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Government Fulfills Its Promise, Special Prosecutor Appointed

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre

After promising to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption in government in 2021, the Office of the Prime Minister Monday announced that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission has appointed Mr. Robert Innocent to the position.

Government believes that Innocent’s appointment will strengthen mechanisms in place to investigate and prosecute instances of corruption, sending a clear message that misconduct by public officials will not be tolerated, the OPM said.

With nearly three decades of extensive judicial experience, Innocent has served in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, the Magistracy, and in private practice.

His “wealth of experience”, according to the OPM, makes Innocent a “dedicated and capable leader in the pursuit of justice.”

Back in 2021, Acting Governor General Errol Charles said that the government, “in recognition of the widespread unprecedented reports of alleged corruption during the term of the last administration”, will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption in government.

Acting Governor General Errol Charles
Acting Governor General Errol Charles

Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet has totally denied the allegations made against his government back then.

“This appointment is expected to be completed soon. My government will strengthen the integrity commission to return our country to a system that respects our democratic norms and the rights of the people,” Charles said.

“Now that the general elections are over, it is time to put political differences aside and commence the process of building our country together… Saint Lucia is one physical space that we can jointly claim to be ours. Let us protect it and nurture it for ourselves and future generations,” Charles added, during his delivery of the Throne Speech at a joint sitting of parliament.

Opposition Leader, Allen Chastanet
Opposition Leader, Allen Chastanet

Last year, (after government’s announcement), Chastanet said that he welcomed the decision, however, wished that the prime minister “had been as eager to deliver on his other promises including the provision of relief for thousands of needy Saint Lucians.”

“As has become this government’s trademark,” Chastanet said, “personal vendettas must be taken care of before anything else, however urgent. So much for its pledge always to put the people first.”

According to him, the prime minister “continues to refer to the issue of corruption and the rule of law with talk of a special prosecutor who we assume will be attached to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. But in the meantime, the prime minister with no proof calls out members of my administration and ignores evidence of blatant wrongdoing within his camp.”

“The United Workers Party has never been afraid of being investigated,” he added.

Innocent’s appointment comes shortly after another prosecutor left due to personal issues (leaving room for another individual to apply).

“Somebody was appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. That person had an issue with their family and because of that issue they accepted the job, but they could not keep it,” Prime Minister Pierre said at the beginning of October.

Innocent’s appointment marks a significant step forward in government’s ongoing efforts to uphold “the principles of transparency, accountability, and integrity,” noted a release from the OPM.

The release further stated that government expresses confidence in Innocent’s ability to contribute significantly to the pursuit of justice “and the upholding of the rule of law in Saint Lucia.”

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