According to Caribbean News Now, the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) obtained an injunction from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court preventing the Saint Lucia government and its agents from continuing the demolition of the buildings and burial ground known as the Castries Prison, formerly the Royal Gaol, in Castries, Saint Lucia. The SLNT called on the Development Control Authority to engage heritage conservation organizations in discussions prior to making a decision to demolish and redevelop the Castries Prison.
According to the SLNT plans were being advanced to demolish the historic structure but the Trust had been unable to verify that these works are approved by the Development Control Authority (DCA). The Castries Prison is possibly the oldest structure in Castries and therefore of historic significance. “It tells an important, albeit dark side of our history, but one we should not forget, for to do so will cause us to perpetuate the societal ills its function attempted to address,” the SLNT said. The proposed demolition is part of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Halls of Justice project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The SLNT called on the DCA to:
- Stop any further works on the Castries Prison site, including the demolition of the Castries Prison until the required applications are submitted, considered and approved;
- Take account of the historic significance and structural integrity of the Castries Prison when considering any application to demolish the structure;
- Require the applicant to produce indicative plans for the redevelopment of the site to enable meaningful consideration to integrating the prison building and adjacent prisoner burial grounds into the planned project. The building served an important function in the national justice system and opportunities to link this history with the future of the justice system should factor into the DCA’s decision on this matter; and
- Engage heritage conservation organisations in discussions prior to making a decision on any application it may receive to demolish and redevelop the Castries Prison.