GOBATS BITE BACK!
IS PM POLICE WORST ENEMY?
By Rick Wayne
year’s unresolved high profile killing of hotelierrealtor Oliver Gobat continues to dump dog doo-doo on the already disfigured face of tourism-dependent, foreigninvestment-starved Saint Lucia.
In the 14 January issue of the widely read Daily Mail the dead man’s parents, 75-yearold Theo Gobat and his wife Helen, are quoted as “insisting there is a probability corrupt police officials on the island of Saint Lucia could be involved in the brutal murder of their son Oliver, or are part of a coverup to prevent his killers being caught.”
The Gobats also told the Mail about “possible collusion” between their son’s killers and local law enforcement, while also claiming “vital forensic evidence was destroyed in the hours after Oliver’s death nine months ago.”
The Gobats reportedly “speculated” their 30-year-old son was “ambushed after being forced to stop his car at a police barricade.”
At a press conference in Saint Lucia, attended by their legal advisor and House Speaker Peter Foster QC, the Gobats revealed they had employed the services of private investigators from the UK to look into the circumstances of their son’s death.
By the Mail’s account, Helen Gobat said: “There is a probability corrupt police officers were involved. Of course we do not have the proof; it is just an opinion. But we feel strongly that this is the case.
“When we spoke with the commissioner of police he said it was the ineptitude of the police that meant forensic evidence was lost.
“We feel it was corruption. It is well known that corruption is rife within the police force.”
Her husband supplied shocking support for his wife’s sentiments. According to the Mail, Theo Gobat revealed to the paper that “the prime minister has admitted to us that corruption is a problem. We do not know who we can trust.”
The Mail reported that “in an interview on November 2014 the prime minister admitted there were problems within the force.” Besides, “the US government had also expressed its own concerns about corruption and in 2013 suspended all aid to the local police.”
The Gobats made much of the fact that the police had removed their son’s burned-out vehicle mere hours after the crime was discovered, “with no real attempt to preserve the site for forensic analysis.”
Instead of it being taken away for forensic examination, they said, their son’s Range Rover was “taken to a police yard where it was left in the open.”
The paper noted “close friends of the murdered hotelier had volunteered that corruption played a part.”
The Mail’s own investigations had revealed “police involvement cannot be ruled out.”
Additionally: “Problems with a certain degree of police corruption have previously been acknowledged by government officials in Saint Lucia but complicity in the homicide of a prominent British citizen begs the assistance that only the British police can provide.”
The Mail states twice in its lengthy January 14 report that less than three months ago Saint Lucia’s prime minister had, with the authority of his office, admitted to the Times: “Of course there is corruption . . . on small islands like ours you are more vulnerable to cor- rupt influences.”
Included in the Mail’s story: “The US State Department has also highlighted the problems of the 1,000 strong police force. In August 2013 it suspended all aid to the police about a secret death squad operating within the police force.
“As many as twelve persons were killed by what US officials described as ‘an ad hoc task force within the police department.’ The suspicions remain that the death squad carried out the murders on behalf of local drug squads that wanted their rivals wiped out. An August 2013 statement said: ‘The Department of State has made a policy decision to withdraw training and material assistance to the Saint Lucia Police Force due to credible violations of human rights violations.’”
The Mail went on: “They [the Gobats] have not made their corruption statements lightly and realize there could be repercussions. They have had a meeting with a case officer responsible for the Caribbean who told them he had other murders of British citizens to consider. They have also been told that the British police will not be allowed to get involved in any investigation as Saint Lucia still has the death penalty on its statute books.”
Shockingly, Helen Gobat has said Prime Minister Kenny Anthony assured her that “it is inconceivable” the killers of Oliver Gobat would ever face the death penalty.
The Gobats reportedly complained local police refuse to discuss with them what progress they have made in their investigations. According to 67-year-old Helen Gobat, Police Commissioner Francois cited a lack of resources and last July sent a request for help to the British government.
Moreover, the family was
Ollie Gobat: The investigation into his murder is creating a furor.