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HomeNewsLocal NewsSt. Kitts-Nevis negotiated support from Commonwealth counterparts to develop essential criminal justice...

St. Kitts-Nevis negotiated support from Commonwealth counterparts to develop essential criminal justice systems and laws

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by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Attorney General of St Kitts and Nevis, Hon Garth Wilkin, joined Law Ministers and Senior Legal Officers from other Commonwealth Caribbean territories and Commonwealth nations in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific for a Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting under the theme: “Strengthening international cooperation through the rule of law and the protection of human rights.”

The bi-annual Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting was hosted in Balaclava in the Republic of Mauritius on November 22 to 25. The Attorney General said he was privileged to discuss measures relating to law and justice with other Law Ministers.

“I had lots of conversations with the Minister from Tanzania, the Minister from Rwanda and even Ministers from our own Caribbean Commonwealth territories, like Belize and St.Vincent and The Grenadines, about our shared issues, and we were able to discuss potential laws and potential ways we can work with our partners in the Commonwealth to find those solutions.”

Wilkin confirmed that whilst in dialogue with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda, they discussed various legal systems that can be adapted to serve the people of St. Kitts & Nevis, particularly innovative Legal Aid and Criminal Investigation Systems. Wilkin also confirmed negotiations for technical support for the Federation’s Criminal Justice Reform project from the Director of the Criminal Justice Unit of the Ministry of Legal Affairs in Trinidad & Tobago.

Given the rise in international cybercrime activities, Wilkin said a National Computer Emergency Response (“CER”) Structure needs to be implemented in St. Kitts and Nevis. He said through the gaining of best practice policies and model law from the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting, he will seek to have such a structure implemented in the Federation.

The Attorney General explained the importance of Small Island Developing States receiving input from international jurisdictions on matters relating to law and justice.

“For a Small Island Developing State like ours (St. Kitts and Nevis) with a population of up to 60,000 people, it is important for us to participate in these sorts of meeting so we can share ideas and get knowledge from jurisdictions that are much larger than ours; so we can set our policies based on Commonwealth standards, and we can look at laws that other jurisdictions have and see if we can copy those laws or adjust them to fit our circumstances. When you’re a small island like ours, you need to get that input from the international community, and a meeting like this is perfect to have that discussion with your colleagues from throughout the Commonwealth.”

The various topics discussed at the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting included but were not limited to: People Centred Justice; The Future of Our Courts; Law, Climate Change and Food Security; Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks; Cybersecurity for Elections: A Commonwealth Guide on Best Practice; and Freedom of Expression and the Role of the Media,

Meanwhile, Wilkin, in a social media post, informed that the Federation had been elected by Commonwealth Law Ministers to represent the Caribbean and the Americas on the Commonwealth Law Ministers Action Group alongside eight other nations: Jamaica, Tanzania, Namibia, Malaysia, Malta, Samoa and Mauritius. He said, “We should all be proud of this election, which allows our small Nation to have a loud international voice in reviewing progress and advising the Commonwealth Secretariat on key Rule of Law and Equal Access to Justice strategies throughout the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries. It is important for your Government to take up space in the international arena and uphold the Rule of Law whilst we navigate the advancement of our proud Nation in this globalised world.”

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