CASTRIES –– Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and Opposition Leader Gale Rigobert have expressed outrage over reports that a 97-year-old woman from the village of Micoud, east of Castries, was raped earlier this week.
In a statement today, Anthony condemned the act, stating that it was a despicable one that not only violated an elderly citizen, but the entire community and country.
“It is unbelievable that someone would even think of committing such an act. This is a heinous and outrageous act. It is inconceivable that a human being would do this. I commend the community of Mon Repos for its decision to host prayer vigil to share their collective outrage, and to send a message to the perpetrator or perpetrators that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”
The prime minister voiced concerns about an increase in reports of rape across the island, saying there must be a collective effort between the police and the public to deal with this problem.
“For too long we have been silent about sexual violence in our homes and our communities. In many instances, we know there are fathers, uncles, stepfathers and others who commit deviant sexual acts in homes and communities, and nothing is said or done. Quite often the perpetrators are protected. These unreported cases lead to an even greater problem in our society, where these men grow to believe that this is acceptable behaviour. We need to tackle the problems at the root.”
Anthony also said he had recommended to Acting Commissioner Errol Alexander that a special unit be established within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to investigate rape cases and to also build a database that stores DNA evidence to determine whether some of these cases are being committed by repeat offenders.
“We have serial rapists at large.”
He expressed hope that the intended reopening of the Forensic Laboratory, under new management, would better assist police in conducting investigations and testing DNA samples. He stressed, however, that the first, most important response was that people report known sex offenders.
Meanwhile the opposition leader has called for the engagement of regional organizations, women’s groups, social welfare agencies and others in the fight against rape and child abuse.
She told reporters at the end of a parliamentary gathering yesterday: “The nation needs to be resolute in interventions to address domestic violence, rape and child abuse.”
Noting that all the offences derived from the same “embryo”, Rigobert asserted that the mission to address those crimes had no party or tribe.
“I will not rest until we at least put mechanisms in place to empower the marginalized and the vulnerable –– both men and women,” the Micoud North MP declared. “We need to get to the root cause.”
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force this week announced that were 56 reported cases of rape so far for the year.