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For the first time in St. Lucia’s 37 years, the Government of France boycotted the national independence day celebrations here on Monday, over St. Lucia’s dysfunctional justice system and government’s failure to implement recommendations on alleged extra judicial killings by local police.

According to the St Lucia Times, Media reports say that the French have decided to stay away from the celebrations at the request of the European Union, as part of sanctions on the island for its tardiness in the implementation of recommendations from the IMPACS report on alleged extra judicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.

A French Embassy official last week confirmed that the French would not be part of the independence celebrations this year, but declined to comment on the reason.

 However, there have been reports in the electronic and print media here that the European Union is bringing pressure to bear on the French to take some form of punitive action against St Lucia over the human rights issue.

There are reports too that the United States could also be involved in pressuring the French who have been supplying training and other forms of assistance to the Police Force, following the decision by the United States to stop such assistance in the wake of the IMPACS report, and allegations that local policemen had unlawfully killed a number of persons during an anti crime drive, Operation Restore Confidence, in 2010.

The EU also has concerns about human rights in St Lucia as it relates to prisoners, including some Europeans, being held for years without trial.
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