Pierre Denies Witch-Hunt In Move To Appoint Special Prosecutor – St. Lucia Times News

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Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has denied that his Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration is mounting a witch-hunt in the move to appoint a Special Prosecutor.

“This Act is not about a witch-hunt. This Act is about having Saint Lucia as a place where corruption is not tolerated or encouraged whether for politicians or public officials,” the PM declared to parliament on Tuesday.

“I want to make it clear. This is not a situation where we are going after anyone because this bill also pertains to us in this honourable house,” he disclosed.

Pierre told parliament that Saint Lucia was not reinventing the wheel, as there have been several similar acts in the region and elsewhere.

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He said Saint Lucia’s Special Prosecutor Act is based on the Jamaica Corruption Prevention & Special Prosecutor Act.

The Castries East MP noted that the Jamaica Act was subject to an unsuccessful challenge concerning the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In this regard, he explained that the Saint Lucia Special Prosecutor Act in no way conflicts with the duties of the DPP’s office.

Pierre recalled that this country’s DPP had declared that he is overwhelmed.

“He said that there are over 90 cases of murder in the system which he cannot deal with,” the PM told parliament.

“We cannot wait for the Director of Public Prosecutions whilst the very core of our existence is being threatened by acts or perceived acts of corruption,” Pierre asserted.

And quoting from the Act, he explained that the Special Prosecutor would not withdraw a matter instituted or referred to him or her by the DPP unless the DPP consents in writing.

Pierre said the law would not diminish or belittle the power of the DPP.

In addition, he noted that the Special Prosecutor bill indicates that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, in consultation with the Attorney General, would appoint an Attorney at Law to be a Special Prosecutor.

“So that person is not a political appointee,” Pierre stated.

And he noted that the appointed Attorney must have at least ten years experience in practising law.

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