In Search of Justice

Image: Scales Of Justice

LAST Friday’s quiet protest staged by some former students of the ill-fated Lambirds Academy has proven just how far some people are willing to go in pursuit of justice here. With the perennial cliché of logjam being a reality in the court system, people – including foreigners – are resorting to beat the pavement in search of justice.

The adage, “Let justice take its course”, has apparently become too convenient and expedient for many people who believe that justice not rigorously pursued – and kept in check – is justice denied.

Just recently, the French Ambassador here voiced his frustration over what he deemed an inordinate delay in justice for a French national languishing at Bordelais Correctional Facility due to more than 20 adjournments in his case. The Ambassador has made it clear that he will show up at the courthouse when the next court date comes up. When pressure is applied, pressure is brought to bear.

The suggestion here is not that many Saint Lucians are not demanding justice. The reality is that most seem resigned to complaining about the system instead of holding the system accountable. What the former Lambirds Academy students and the French Ambassador have demonstrated is that they are willing to leap over the average Saint Lucian’s frustration associated with seeking justice, and actually demand answers and accountability.

The passive-aggressive approach taken by the Asian students and the French Ambassador might seem new to many Saint Lucians. But the international attention the episodes are attracting does little to quell the fears of the international community that keeps getting the assurances from an island that keeps pledging to reform its justice system.

Whatever reasons the local authorities may cite as being responsible for the logjam in our courts might now be obsolete in an age where technology and the ease of doing business are crucial factors. The lack of human and capital resources for providing something as basic as justice should no longer be an excuse in an age where people’s freedoms and civil liberties matter most.

Whether or not these quiet protests in pursuit of justice become the norm in Saint Lucia, only time will tell. After all, Saint Lucians are well-known for not walking all of their talk, anyway. Maybe that fact is a key reason why the justice system here continues to grind to a screeching halt while those who administer justice continue to profess that the system is changing for the better.

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