Editor’s note: The information for this article was gathered from multiple sources. However, the article was originally published on St. Lucia News Online on Jan. 30, 2014, and is being republished by popular request.
Did you know that January 1, 2014, marked 172 years since the English language was prescribed in all law proceedings in St. Lucia?
Did you know that from 1825 to 1831 Sir John Jeremie was appointed chief justice of St. Lucia? During his tenure, he was called upon to administer the slave laws that applied in the British Empire at that time.
Although the slave trade had been abolished in the British Empire, slavery per se continued to be legal in some form during this time.
The issue of slavery continued to be a subject that Jeremie was associated with throughout his life. He wrote four essays on colonial slavery, pointing out the problems of slave communities and the improvements made in their conditions in Saint Lucia.
He also advised on how to end slavery altogether. These publications were brought to the British public’s attention and are thought to have contributed to slavery’s abolition.
Jeremie was a strong advocate and a firm believer in human rights. However, after his departure, St. Lucia adopted the English procedures and rules in criminal cases in 1833. Then in 1834, the island implemented the office of the Justice of the Peace (Juge de Paix) and towards the end of 1853, a legitimate copy of the Laws of St. Lucia was published and put up for sale.
St. Lucia News Online welcomes our readers to this feature which will run every Tuesday and Thursday. It is written by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send some ideas and tips to [email protected]