GOBATS BITE BACK!

IS PM PO­LICE WORST EN­EMY?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

Last

Ol­lie Go­bat: The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his mur­der is cre­at­ing a furor.

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