Contact: Shannon Lebourne
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 – Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Senator Honourable Dr. Nicholas Frederick was in the spotlight for all the good reasons on Monday, December 21, 2009, when his ministry delivered the much anticipated forensic laboratory at La Toc.
The Attorney General received high praise at the official opening for his relentless approach towards seeing the project to fruition.
In fact after assuming office in 2006, Dr. Frederick spearheaded a request to alter the construction plan to accommodate DNA testing at the forensic lab.
He says that upgrade will reduce the high cost and long wait for the results of DNA tests for criminal matters, which for many years had to be sought from the United Kingdom.
“The forensic lab will enable us to prosecute crime in a manner that we have never done before—speedily and efficiently. It will reduce delays in the justice system and enhance access to justice, both of which are two main goals of the ministry.” Dr. Frederick said.
The completion of the forensic lab means that Saint Lucia is the first island in the OECS with state of the art forensic analytic capabilities.
The new facility is a key component of the national approach to deal with the high incidents of crime on the island which are often unsolved.
Home Affairs and National Security Minister Senator Honourable Guy Mayers, says the multi-million dollar forensic laboratory will provide valuable service and support to the police in their fight against crime.
Senator Mayers says the facility will address many shortcomings relating to the collection of evidence in the absence or reluctance of eyewitnesses to come forward.
“Crime impinges on every aspect of economic and social development and we must never concede in our efforts against crime. The addition of the forensic lab to the crime management assets on the island, cannot be overstated and is testimony of government's commitment to securing Saint Lucia,” Mayers said.
The forensic lab was conceptualised by the former government and completed and equipped by the present administration.
In providing an overview of the new facility, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Justice Mr Eustace Monrose, noted that the laboratory will improve and enhance the quality of justice dispensed by the legal courts and “facilitate toxicology testing and the analysis of gunshot evidence among other services.”
Mr. Monrose says in order for developing countries like Saint Lucia to deliver any semblance of justice and to mitigate crime, facilities like the forensic laboratory is critical.
“The forensic services centre operating here in Saint Lucia provides a significant opportunity for such a service to be beneficial to sister OECS countries. The waiting time for forensic examination results will be reduced—no more will cases be delayed as a result of the unavailability of forensic examination results from overseas,” Monrose said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Glenda Polius, is also excited about the prospects of the new forensic lab which she says will result in a much safer Saint Lucia.
She says the official opening of the facility comes at a juncture when Saint Lucia must redouble its efforts to deal with the increasing crime rates.
“We anticipate that the operations of the forensic lab will strengthen the legal system in its fight against crime. Moreover, with the increasing sophistication of crime that requires advanced techniques to solve them, a state-of-the-art facility such as this one, will result in significant gains that will positively influence the levels of safety and consequently economic activity in Saint Lucia.”
The official opening of the forensic laboratory was held under the distinguished patronage of the Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, who performed the symbolic ribbon cutting and unveiling of the plaque to signal the formal opening of the facility.
The laboratory's mission statement is: “To provide scientific support services by performing forensic analysis of evidence and to increase the productivity of the Justice System through the application of scientific methodologies.”
The facility will be managed by the Ministry of Justice. The state-of-the-art laboratory was constructed and equipped at a cost of $EC6.6M.
The new forensic lab will become fully operational in January 2011.
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