Francis See Norbert’s Appointment As Pierre’s ‘Capitulation’ – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Human Rights campaigner Mary Francis views Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre’s recent appointment of Micoud North MP Jeremiah Norbert to the Cabinet of Ministers as a sign of surrender.

Norbert took the oath this week as Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Crime Prevention and Persons with Disabilities.

However, Prime Minister Pierre will retain the National Security portfolio despite calls on social media and from the opposition for him to relinquish it.

“I see it as a capitulation on the part of the Prime Minister in reference to the calls of persons asking him to step down,” Mary Francis told St. Lucia Times.

Francis felt Pierre had overestimated his own capacity.

“He assigned himself such heavy portfolios,” the outspoken Attorney at Law noted.

In addition to being Prime Minister, Pierre’s responsibilities include Finance, Economic Development, the Youth Economy, Justice and National Security.

Regarding Jeremiah Norbert’s new Ministerial appointment, Mary Francis declared that the Micoud North MP had received a prize.

As a result, she said she would keep her eyes on that prize.

The National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Coordinator told St. Lucia Times that Norbert seems very enthusiastic about contributing to his country’s development.

At the same time, she hoped his appointment was not due to political expediency.

The Attorney at Law recalled that numerous reports and suggestions regarding crime prevention exist and several consultations have occurred.

“Why then create this new portfolio?” she asked, adding that she did not see the necessity for Jeremiah Norbert’s Crime Prevention assignment.

She said money should go towards improving the justice system and ensuring court matters get prompt attention.

“There are over 300 people on remand at Bordelais (Correctional Facility). This is a crime in itself on the part of the state because those persons, according to the Constitution, should be tried speedily,” Francis told St. Lucia Times.

Francis also observed that law enforcement is essential to crime prevention.

In this regard, she said the police must partner with the community.

However, the Human Rights advocate said that, according to her knowledge and the complaints she has received, policing in Saint Lucia leaves much to be desired.

Francis declared that the way some police officers behave does not contribute to a strong partnership with the community.

“If you don’t have this partnership, how can you get the intelligence and information to combat crime?” She told St. Lucia Times.

Francis felt there was little public confidence in the police and law enforcement.

In addition, she recalled that in March last year, in response to a deadly gun violence surge, the government had designated Vieux Fort an escalated crime zone.

The measure provided the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) with expanded powers to respond to crime.

However, Mary Francis said the public needs to learn how effective the measure has been and whether there were rights abuses.

She also asserted that the police must comply with the law.