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Contact:  Shannon Lebourne


Friday 30 September 2011 In recognition of the important role the judiciary plays in addressing the problem of crime, Caribbean prosecutors have gathered here in Saint Lucia to consider the best way forward to meet the challenges of fighting serious organised crime which continues to be a major concern to all.


Speaking at the launch of the Director of Public Prosecution Conference, Saint Lucia`s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Honourable Lorenzo Rudolph Francis, emphasised the need for prosecutors to develop strong bonds and to strengthen their skills and capacity to fight the war on crime.


Francis says the September 29 and 30 conference, demonstrates that Caribbean countries are committed to tackling organised crime which continues to be a priority.


“The transnational nature of organised crime means that criminals operate across borders without respect for territorial waters, boundaries or jurisdictions. Therefore, there is need for a joint approach which calls for cooperation and effective international law enforcement measures. This means that Caribbean states must implement harmonised legislation and other law enforcement mechanisms which can tackle these problems jointly in an effective and determined way.”


In every Caribbean jurisdiction, serious organised crimes causes immense suffering to those addicted to drugs, victims of human trafficking, and gun related offences; this problem also results in the breakdown of the family.


Saint Lucia`s Attorney General and Minister for Justice also emphasised the need for modernisation and harmonisation of legislation to ensure the protection of witnesses to various crimes.


“For many years now there has been a draft CARICOM legislation in the form of a Justice Protection Act of 2003 which provides a regime for the implementation of programmes for protecting witnesses who have been threatening or are in fear for themselves and families including their relocation to other states or countries but this requires a well collaborative approach and represents a combined effort in the fight against crime.


“To date, this draft legislation has not been implemented, though the work continues on a uniform legislation notwithstanding there is a tacit agreement among a few Caribbean and Commonwealth countries for the protection of witnesses of serious crimes.”


The two-day Directors of Public Prosecutions Conference was being held under the theme “The Strengthening of the Prosecution of Serious Organised Crime.”


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