Commissioner Rodney Calls for Antigua’s Own Forensic Lab to Avoid Overseas Delays

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney has emphasized that establishing a forensic lab in Antigua is the best solution to avoid the significant delays currently experienced in forensic analysis.

These delays, he explained, are largely due to the necessity of sending forensic evidence abroad for testing, where cases from other jurisdictions often take precedence.

Commissioner Rodney elaborated on the challenges, saying, “When you send items overseas, it’s not every time you get first priority because you are not part of that jurisdiction, and you don’t know what other pressing matters they have.”

He noted that cases pending before foreign courts typically receive priority over investigations from Antigua, leading to extended wait times for results—sometimes up to a year or more.

The lack of a local forensic lab means that Antigua’s investigations are often placed lower on the priority list.

“It’s a slow process when it comes to some of those matters of that nature, and we just have to continue to pursue the hope that one day we can have a lab in Antigua that can give us first priority when we have those matters,” Rodney added.

DNA analysis has become a crucial part of modern investigations, even in smaller jurisdictions like Antigua, where the forensic recovery unit frequently needs to process samples from various cases.

The backlog in overseas labs exacerbates the delay, requiring the police to continually request expedited processing, especially in cases involving young individuals.

Rodney acknowledged that the push for a local forensic lab is part of a broader list of requests presented to the cabinet, which includes advancements in ballistic analysis.

“We are making progress along that line. There’s some training that is taking place in Antigua, thanks to CARICOM IMPACS, aimed at eventually having our own ballistic testing machines to analyze ammunition and firearms,” he said.

While there have been strides in training and preparatory work, the Commissioner noted that achieving a fully operational forensic lab in Antigua will take time.

However, he remains optimistic about the progress being made and the potential for Antigua to independently handle its forensic needs in the future.

This development is seen as crucial for the timely and efficient processing of forensic evidence, ultimately enhancing the investigative capabilities of Antigua’s law enforcement and improving the administration of justice in the country.

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