Saturday 25 May, 2019

Lucian Minister pushes back at British media over Hathaway killing

National Security and Home Affairs Minister Hermangild Francis in St. Lucia recently pushed back at certain sections of the British press that have suggested that Saint Lucia’s justice system is not working.

In a 30-minute interview with reporters at his office on the Castries Waterfront, Minister Francis pointed out that the country is not targeting British people as some outlets of the British media seem to suggest.

This comes in the wake of the killing of British national Robert Hathaway, who had resided in St Lucia for many years. 

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Minister Francis, in referring to British nationals killed in Saint Lucia over the years, noted each incident has its own particular circumstances.

He said the British media needs to know that Saint Lucia is not as dangerous as they claim it to be, that Saint Lucians do not target Britons who visit the island nor those that decide to stay and that Saint Lucia’s judicial system is working, contrary to reports in the British media that the justice system is failing.

Speaking on the latest Briton to have suffered a violent death, namely Robert Hathaway at his home in Piat, Grande Riviere, Gros Islet, Minister Francis said that Hathaway was his friend and that police are working assiduously to crack the case which is now into its second week.

Francis told reporters today that he was not in a position to say exactly what police were doing on the case.

The Hathaway murder has opened up questions about Saint Lucia’s preparedness or unpreparedness to deal with any fallout from its second source market, which is Britain.

Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee last week declined questions on the above and any having to do with Hathaway’s murder, saying that, “My government has taken a policy decision that we will allow the police and the lead minister on crime which is our Home Affairs Minister Honourable Hermangild Francis to deal with those matters to speak on those matters and be the lead voice."

Francis today dismissed the notion of policy, saying it was just natural that as National Security Minister he would be the one to answer questions.

Hathaway, who lived on the island for many years, was 66 years old when he met his demise. He is not the first British national to be murdered on the island over the years.

Justice is still being sought for Roger Pratt, 62, a British national who on a dream voyage with his wife, Margaret, was killed while on his yacht called ‘Magnetic Attraction’ which was docked in Vieux Fort five years ago.

The childless couple had recently retired from their successful consultancy business, rented out their home in the wealthy village of Moreton Paddox, Warwickshire, and was on a round-the-world adventure on the high seas.

The Pratts' adventure came to an end when according to police, a gang of young men paddled out to their yacht which was anchored in port Vieux Fort.

Roger Pratt was beaten and thrown overboard and left to drown. It was police who pulled his body from the water. Police had moved swiftly in that matter, arresting three men within hours of the crime and two more several days later.

Before Pratt was Jane Tipson, an environmentalist who had strong views on environmental issues and campaigned against the St Lucian government's support of commercial whaling and opposed the development of "swimming with dolphins" centres. Tipson, 53, hailed from Wadebridge in Cornwall. She was murdered while sitting in her car.

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