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Draft Family Law Report in the hand of Government

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Contact: Virnet St. Omer-Fontenelle

Friday, August 06, 2004 - The Report of the Family Law Committee of the St. Lucia Civil Code Reform Project was officially handed to the Government of St. Lucia on Thursday, August 12, 2004 at the Registry. The report was funded jointly by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Government of St. Lucia.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the occasion, Attorney General Senator Petrus Compton said that the report was part of a revolution in the judicial system, to repair years of neglect which has brought the system to near collapse.

“In 1997, the judiciary was in as bad a state as it is today. When I was called to the bar in 1992, one of the first things I was told by senior lawyers was that I may not have very long to practise because the whole system was about to collapse. Thankfully, due to the hard work and dedication of those who work in the system it has not yet collapsed. But it was clear to the honourable Prime Minister and myself that we had to effect a revolution in the judicial and legal system of this country,” the Attorney General said.

He said that the Family Law Review together with the complete reform of the criminal code, constitutional reform and changes to the magistracy were part of the revolution, which had been progressing steadily.

Minister for Health Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations, Honourable Damian Greaves said that the report had long-ranging implications for all areas of family interaction: “There is going to be a radical transformation of the society insofar as that corner stone called the family is concerned, issues regarding maintenance … custody of children … physical and sexual abuse … how much does a father pay in a situation of divorce… the family law situation is not the panacea for the change we are looking for, but it must be accompanied by other requisite changes in the society.”

He referred to changes in the way social workers practise their craft, education as well as the academic side of drafting legislation.

The Attorney General’s Office has promised a public campaign to put the draft report in the hands of every St. Lucian, who are desirous of reading it. The report will be made available on line, as well as through the office.

Senator Compton also gave a commitment to instituting a system to receive feedback on the draft report.



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