New Forensic Lab to help deliver justice in St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts, April 23, 2010 (SKNIS): The use of forensic science in solving criminal cases in St. Kitts and Nevis remains a top priority for the Government.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas told members of the media that the capacity to develop reliance on forensic support is ongoing. “In fact only recently we (St. Kitts and Nevis) subscribed to the [use] of a sub-regional lab which is located in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said, during his monthly press conference.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Joseph Liburd told SKNIS that forensic and ballistic technology is used where possible in the carriage of justice. He revealed that currently forensic samples are sent to laboratories in Trinidad and the United States (U.S.) for analysis, while some ballistic testing is done locally.

Based on the overwhelming demand for forensic analysis, the U.S. Government partnered with the Government in Antigua and Barbuda to provide a state-of-the-art cyber testing facility to reduce the demand on existing regional labs.

The senior police official noted that over the years, the presentation of science-based evidence has led to several court convictions. He disclosed that the procedures surrounding forensic evidence is quite costly as all samples are accompanied by an official from the island to the relevant country where it will be analyzed.

Additionally, the lab technician that tested the exhibit may be required to visit the Federation to give evidence in court. He said that the computer forensic laboratory in Antigua, which is 20 minutes away by air travel, will significantly reduce costs.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Astona Browne said a recent pledge by the U.S. to provide high tech equipment to transmit cyber forensics evidence securely to Antigua will help considerably to make the process less expensive.

Prime Minister Douglas stressed that “if it were possible for us to develop that capacity here within our own jurisdiction it would be excellent, but we have subscribed to the view that the lab in Antigua is the lab which will serve our purposes.”

Countries throughout the region also send forensic samples to Antigua to be tested in the new facility. The United States reportedly provided over US$500,000 to equip the lab and US$200,000 to train technical experts from throughout the region in cyber-forensic investigation capabilities.

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