Attorney Mary Francis – Human Rights Advocate and, Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights has expressed doubt on Saint Lucia’s justice system. The long serving human rights advocate is counsel for two families of the victims in the infamous Vieux-Fort 5 police killings in 2011. Listen below.
John Baptiste Mc Farlan, Mitchel Cadette, Allan Louisy, Myron Dupal and, Kevin Ferdinand each reportedly sustained fatal gunshot wounds by police on May 5th 2011. The five men resided in La Clery, Castries.
- On May 5th at approximately 2:30 am, police tactical units formed under the then anti-crime operation ‘operation restore confidence’[ORC], responded to a suspected robbery at a restaurant and bar in Beanfield, Vieux-Fort.
- The suspected robbery was allegedly being perpetrated by the five men from La Clery, Castries.
- The police response resulted in a gun battle.
- Four of the alleged robbery suspects [John Baptiste Mc Farlan, Mitchel Cadette, Allan Lenny Louisy and, Myron Dupal] were shot dead at the scene.
- One .45 caliber pistol was reportedly recovered from the scene.
- The fifth shooting victim [Kevin Ferdinand ]succumbed at the St. Jude Hospital 6 days later on May 11th.
Loved ones of the shooting victims cried foul and local human rights advocates called for independent investigations.
- An inquest was convened five years later on May 27th 2016 and determined that in the case of three of the victims-John Baptiste McFarlane, Allan Louisy, and Mitchel Cadette-the killings were unlawful. In the case of Myron Dupal, the jury returned an open verdict, which permits the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to indict. In the case of Kevin Ferdinand, the jury found death “by misadventure.” The cases awaited a newly appointed acting DPP’s decision on whether to indict any of the unnamed police officers.
In addition to the shooting deaths of the 5 La Clery men, the RSLPF O.R.C task-force is accused unlawfully executing 12 people between 2010/11.
- In 2013/14 the government of Saint Lucia enlisted the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security [IMPACS] to investigate the RSLPF and ORC.
Among the reported findings by IMPACS on ORC, the report alleges;
- Staged crime scenes
- Planted guns
- Uncooperative senior police officers
- A death list
- ‘Willful blindness’ by the then Police Commissioner
The United States State Department has withdrawn all funding and technical support to the RSLPF.