Saint Lucia
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Custody Suites to be Rebuilt in Nine Months

The Royal Goal and Custody Suites being demolished back in May 2020
The Royal Goal and Custody Suites being demolished back in May 2020

Government is moving quickly to alleviate a particular problem facing the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, which is the lack of a holding facility for persons apprehended by police officers.

The former holding facility, known as Custody Suites located on Upper Bridge Street, was bulldozed by the former administration in May 2020, forcing police to look at alternate ways to house persons they have arrested.

Speaking to reporters Monday, on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre said there is scope for the construction of a rebuilt custody suites within the next nine months, since the demolition of the structure by the previous regime.

Cognizant about the escalation of crime in the country, and the serious repercussions and distresses that it has brought on families and communities, he said there must be adequate structures in place to effectively detain suspects.

“One of the basic problems is that when you arrest people, you must get somewhere to put them. The last government destroyed the Custody Suites and no one has accounted for it,” declared PM Pierre.

“Why would you destroy a holding cell – a holding place for people who are arrested?” said the island’s National Security Minister.

“We started work on it and hopefully, we should get the Custody Suites within the next nine months which would help the police as far as being able to detain people when they are arrested,” stated Pierre.

The minister explained that the current procedure involved in apprehending and detaining persons poses much difficulty for law enforcement officers. In some instances, he said, after the police have apprehended someone, the individual has to be taken either to Marigot, Anse La Raye, Dennery, or as far as Soufriere to be detained or released.

“These are the shortsighted things that happened, and we are paying for it,” the Castries East MP declared.

Citing the actions of the former administration, PM Pierre said the Custody Suites was destroyed with “absolutely no care in the world”. The former custody suites, the former Royal Gaol, and the former police headquarters all underwent demolition at the same time.

With focus on police matters, the national security minister disclosed that work will soon commence on the construction of the Vieux Fort Police Headquarters, while the former Gros Islet Police Station has been demolished and the architectural designs “are ready and we should go to planning next month …to start work there very soon. So, we should get the infrastructure for the police together and with the Halls of Justice… we want to sign our accession to the CCJ – Caribbean Court of Justice, when we turn the soil for the Halls of Justice.”

Pierre explained that the Halls of Justice will be located in the vicinity of the old Court House building and will incorporate the area from across the street where the Ministry of Education was located.

Persons arrested by police are presently being housed in police stations across the island.