CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Sunday January 18, 2015, CMC – The investigation into the murder of the St. Lucia born British hotelier Oliver Gobat in April last year, is creating a furor here with his family offering “a full and unreserved” apology to the police for statements alleging police corruption in the ongoing inquiry.
“The Gobat family, would like to offer a full and unreserved apology to the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, to the Commissioner and officers working on the Oliver Gobat murder case, for the comments made in the recent article in the Daily Mail Online,” according to a statement released by the family.
“Up to this point we have been working well with the RSLPF and we have every confidence that the officers involved in the investigation will solve this dreadful crime,” it added.
Police Commissioner Vernon Francois on Friday demanded an apology from the family after reviewing an article captioned “Death in Paradise: Parents of millionaire hotelier found ‘executed’ in his burned out Range Rover fear corrupt St Lucia police were in on murder mystery” appearing on the Mail Online website on Thursday.
“The St. Lucia Police Force calls upon the Gobat family to provide evidence of the probability of Police corruption in this matter.
“Alternatively, they should publicly retract their allegations and proffer an apology to the Royal St. Lucia Police Force,” the police statement noted.
Francois said “our investigators have diligently investigated this matter and continue to pursue all possible leads”.
He said on Wednesday members of the investigative team and the Commissioner of Police convened a meeting with the Gobat family, considered by all the parties to have been “cordial and fruitful”.
“There was absolutely no suggestion from the family of the “probability” of corruption on the part of the police or police having played a role in the commissioning of this crime”.
“The Commissioner of Police categorically denies any suggestion of “ineptitude” on the part of police officers, as it relates to the movement of the burnt out vehicle.”
The statement said notwithstanding the pronouncements from the Gobat family, “the Royal St. Lucia Police Force proposes to fulfil its legal responsibility to diligently investigate and pursue every possible lead in the matter”.
The apology by the Gobat family explained that, “the grief of a parent over a murdered child is something I would not wish on anyone and certainly my parents are struggling to make sense of their rest of their own lives as a result.
“I believe these comments, which should not have been made, were in a moment of deep grief, pain and frustration overcoming patience, combined with journalists seeking a sensationalist angle.
“This situation has not been easy for our family to come to terms with, and we deeply regret the impact of the statements in the article on the image of the St. Lucia Police Force.
“We the family greatly appreciate the services to date of the RSLPF and are confident that every effort is being made to bring Justice to Oliver,” the Gobat family added.