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Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - A Caribbean Prosecutors Association could soon be a reality following a two-day seminar in Barbados of regional Directors of Public Prosecutions and senior prosecutors.

This was the recommendation of the nearly thirty lawyers, who represented thirteen Caribbean countries, which included Mrs Victoria Charles-Clarke, Acting Director of Public Prosecution and Inspector Sylvia Desir, Police Prosecutor from St Lucia. At their final session, they unanimously agreed that they would set up the association, probably under the aegis of the International Prosecutorsí Association.

The seminar was conducted by a team of facilitators headed by Anesta Weekes QC, chair of the UK Caribbean Juristsí Group, and included Sir David Calvert-Smith, immediate past DPP of England and Wales, Steve Gwilliam head of the anti corruption division at the Metropolitan Police, Judge Michael Lawson QC, Robert Drybrough-Smith, Crown Prosecution Service, and Deborah Mansfield Law Society.
Also addressing the seminar were Barbadosí Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons and Justice Adrian Saunders, Acting Chief Justice of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Justice Saunders was recently appointed as a Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Matters discussed included the independence of the prosecutor, handling of vulnerable witnesses, investigation and prosecution of corruption and sharing of expertise within the region as a whole. There was also widespread agreement that, despite differences in size, resources and procedures, there is still common ground on judicial matters among the regional states, as well as with England and Wales. Barbadosí Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock brought the Caribbean perspective in his address on removing barriers to prosecutions in the region.

A particularly valuable achievement was the invitation by the facilitators to the prosecutors to be more pro-active in attacking corruption both in police services and in government service.

The seminar was organised by the UK Caribbean Juristsí Group in collaboration with the British High Commission in Barbados.


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