CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – The St Lucia government says it will cooperate with Canadian law enforcement agencies that are seeking the extradition of nationals who return to the island after committing crimes in Canada.
“I want to make it very clear that St Lucia is no safe haven for criminals and we will cooperate with the Canadian authorities for the extradition of nationals who engage in criminal behaviour. We will be more than happy to see them come back to Canada to face the consequences and answer for the crimes they are alleged to have committed,” Social Transformation, Public Service and Human Resource Development Minister Lenard Montoute has said.
Montoute, who is attending the 31st annual fundraising activities of the St Lucia Toronto Association, said that the actions of a misguided few were hurting the image of St Lucia resulting in nationals having to acquire visas to visit Canada.
Toronto police said recently that they had cracked a criminal network involving illegal St Lucian immigrants that was responsible for armed robberies in the city’s west end. They said nine of the 10 men arrested as a result, were from St Lucia.
But one suspect was deported to St Lucia last month before Canadian police knew he was a suspect.
“This story has made big headlines on our talk shows back home and the government is very concerned,” said Montoute, who is also the Youth and Sports Minister.
St Lucia police earlier this year arrested Ron Williams after Canada law enforcement authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of murdering 21-year-old Jonathan Rodrigues in February 2008.
Canada and St Lucia do not share an extradition treaty. But the authorities here use the Backing of Warrant Act to facilitate the extradition of nationals to Canada.
However, Williams’ lawyer claims the act is unconstitutional.