Categorized | Crime, International, Local, News, Regional

Former PM denies giving British government guarantee in the murder of British hotelier

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jan 24, CMC – Former prime minister Dr.Kenny Anthony Tuesday denied that his former St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government had given an assurance to Britain that it would not pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of murdering a British hotelier in 2014.

The body of Oliver Gobat was found on April 24, 2015, in his burnt out vehicle. The 38-year-old man had been shot twice in the head at least two miles from the luxury hotel his family owned at Cap Estate, north of here.

Police have not held anyone in relation to the murder of Gobat, who was born here, but grew up in Surrey in England.

Anthony Chastanett
Former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony (Left) and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

In a statement, Anthony, who left office in June after his SLP government was defeated in the general election, said his attention had been drawn to a statement made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet during a news conference earlier this month indicating that the former government had “promised to send a letter to the British Government saying we would not pursue the death penalty and we were told repeatedly that that letter had been sent”.

Chastanet is reported to have said “that was a lie” in relation to the letter having been sent.

In his statement, Anthony, a constitutional lawyer and former law lecturer, said that his administration “never ever gave the British Government any undertaking whether expressly or impliedly that it would not pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of the murder of Oliver Gobat.

“On the contrary, I advised the British Government that the question of whether the death penalty was applicable was a matter for the Director of Public Prosecution and for the Court. Indeed, it was made patently clear that any such attempt to direct the Director of Public Prosecution and the Court to forego the death penalty would be unconstitutional.”

Anthony said that it is for the courts to determine whether an act of murder is a ‘Capital Offence’ or a ‘Non- capital Offence.’

“The political directorate has no authority in such a matter. Likewise, Allen Chastanet has no authority to promise that the death penalty would not apply to a convicted murderer.”

He said to give an undertaking that the accused in the murder of Gobat would be spared the death penalty “is inherently discriminatory against other accused persons facing trial for murder.

Anthony said that the position of the ‘former government’ was conveyed by him to the Gobat family, adding “it saddens me that Allen Chastanet has chosen to not only politicize this matter by his statements to Choice News but additionally, with untrue statements.

“I believe that the Gobats can do without the undue and unwarranted politicization of the investigation of the murder of their son. They have suffered enough.

“It is also passing strange that Prime Minister Chastanet could say that the absence of the comfort letter to the British Government compromised assistance from the British Government when an officer from the Royal St. Lucia Police Force travelled to the United Kingdom to brief Police Officers there.”

The former prime minister said he is also aware of exchanges between the High Command of the St. Lucia Police Force and the Surrey Police.

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CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jan 24, CMC – Former prime minister Dr.Kenny Anthony Tuesday denied that his former St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government had given an assurance to Britain that it would not pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of murdering a British hotelier in 2014.

The body of Oliver Gobat was found on April 24, 2015, in his burnt out vehicle. The 38-year-old man had been shot twice in the head at least two miles from the luxury hotel his family owned at Cap Estate, north of here.

Police have not held anyone in relation to the murder of Gobat, who was born here, but grew up in Surrey in England.

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Anthony Chastanett
Former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony (Left) and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

In a statement, Anthony, who left office in June after his SLP government was defeated in the general election, said his attention had been drawn to a statement made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet during a news conference earlier this month indicating that the former government had “promised to send a letter to the British Government saying we would not pursue the death penalty and we were told repeatedly that that letter had been sent”.

Chastanet is reported to have said “that was a lie” in relation to the letter having been sent.

In his statement, Anthony, a constitutional lawyer and former law lecturer, said that his administration “never ever gave the British Government any undertaking whether expressly or impliedly that it would not pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of the murder of Oliver Gobat.

“On the contrary, I advised the British Government that the question of whether the death penalty was applicable was a matter for the Director of Public Prosecution and for the Court. Indeed, it was made patently clear that any such attempt to direct the Director of Public Prosecution and the Court to forego the death penalty would be unconstitutional.”

Anthony said that it is for the courts to determine whether an act of murder is a ‘Capital Offence’ or a ‘Non- capital Offence.’

“The political directorate has no authority in such a matter. Likewise, Allen Chastanet has no authority to promise that the death penalty would not apply to a convicted murderer.”

He said to give an undertaking that the accused in the murder of Gobat would be spared the death penalty “is inherently discriminatory against other accused persons facing trial for murder.

Anthony said that the position of the ‘former government’ was conveyed by him to the Gobat family, adding “it saddens me that Allen Chastanet has chosen to not only politicize this matter by his statements to Choice News but additionally, with untrue statements.

“I believe that the Gobats can do without the undue and unwarranted politicization of the investigation of the murder of their son. They have suffered enough.

“It is also passing strange that Prime Minister Chastanet could say that the absence of the comfort letter to the British Government compromised assistance from the British Government when an officer from the Royal St. Lucia Police Force travelled to the United Kingdom to brief Police Officers there.”

The former prime minister said he is also aware of exchanges between the High Command of the St. Lucia Police Force and the Surrey Police.