Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Chastanet Responds After Dropping Of Charges In Hilaire Land Rover Case

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Opposition leader Allen Chastanet says the dropping of charges in the Land Rover case involving Dr. Ernest Hilaire raises more questions than answers.

And the former Prime Minister described as ‘a bit bewildering’, the perception of Hilaire and Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre that the outcome was just.

Hilaire told reporters this week that mediation resolved the matter, and the Comptroller of Customs withdrew charges.

The Castries South MP and former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to the UK also said there was agreement that Customs would return his Land Rover vehicle, which its officers detained in 2020 amid claims of irregularities in its importation.

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“We are talking about a new Comptroller of Customs and a new Attorney General and there’s a lot of information that needs to be ascertained before I can give a final position,” opposition leader Allen Chastanet said regarding the case.

Chastanet believed that the Comptroller owes everyone an explanation regarding what new information surfaced to cause the withdrawal of the case.

“We have the evidence which was substantiated by Ernest Hilaire himself in his own interviews that the vehicle was registered in the name of the High Commission and what is not being answered is who gave Ernest Hilaire permission to purchase it in the name of the High Commission and more importantly, against the Financial Act who gave Ernest Hilaire permission to put the car back in his name? It is bewildering,” Chastanet told St Lucia Times.

“The fact is that over the last five years Ernest Hilaire has not been able to provide to anyone, the public, the Comptroller of Customs, information substantiating that he legitimately owns the car. One doesn’t have to question whether he paid for the car, but the question is why was it put in the name of the High Commission and once it was there how did it get out?”

“What’s the information that now gives ultimate proof that in fact the car was not registered in the name of the High Commission and it was never an asset of the state and in fact it was all along his car? “ He asserted.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

40 COMMENTS

  1. One goes to the law for another and interest becomes division and confusion.
    But to be patient is with great understanding and peace be like pouring raindrops.
    Nevertheless ! And not even more to present your case ,to set forth arguments and settle matters QUICKLY”.

  2. SLP to the bone you don’t have a clue how the court system works. I suggest you crawl back to your crab hole.

  3. @ Lucian, you really should stay out of topics that you don’t understand or are just too much for you. Just a little intelligence would help you understand my point. In you mediocrity, you have labelled me a UWP. Well for your information, sorry idiot, I have problems with both parties in St. Lucia because both are in part responsible for the ills of this country. I find the Green Party make more sense than both SLP and UWP though it still needs to put its act together.
    Perhaps, @Lucian, if you move your tongue from Pip’s behind, you will have less Shi& in you head and will be able to think clearly. Now you can go to hell.

  4. @COP, are you in St Lucia or living somewhere under a rock in the hemisphere. The PM spoke to reporters after the mediation process when he, the speaker, Helaire and his lawyers walked out. Check all news channels for the evidence. He even reported that customs would be withdrawing the charges during the Court session and agree to return the vehicle. I don’t write what I can’t back up. I don’t know if he spoke after the Court hearing but it is a fact he spoke to the media after the mediation process and even said he was there to ensure the law works.

  5. Chastanet you created the issue to destroy a political opponent, why did you stop the PS of Foreign affairs from sending the letter to customs. Not everyone is part of the 43%

  6. @ National Malice prosecution, the PM has every right to be there supposing his Cabinet colleague. Go cry to your master conman Chastanet. UWP gros pwel in full effect.

  7. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha @ COP, if the mediation happened before the the final court hearing (and you are right, it did), then what was the value of a recently installed PM leaving the business of State to be in a court house with Hilaire when the settlement was already in place. Mediation had already settled the matter. So as usual, the PM was only there on show, while leaving important matters of State behind. And since it was a matter of the State (represented by Customs) vs Hilaire, why was the PM there to celebrate with Hilaire? Could he not show some neutrality as leader of Government?

  8. @SLP to the Bone where is the evidence you have the PM and the Speaker were present during mediation. FYI being at the court house when the matter was disposed of before the Magistrate does not mean they were present during the mediation. You stated it correctly mediation would be among the parties involved in this case Customs, Hilaire and their lawyers.

  9. This bitter, entrenched, narrow, partisan politics is antithetical to the progress and success of St. Lucia. It has to stop. That’s the reason I don’t affiliate myself with any political party. I’m able to admonish both parties when they do wrong without prejudice.

    It’s so sad to acknowledge that corruption has dogged the SLP so early in their new administration. Shameful. But what is more galling is that people are excoriating the messenger and completely ignoring the blatant, unlawful action of the now minister.

    The whole of St. Lucia should take Helaire to task. Let the judiciary decide whether Helaire is guilty as charged. No other entity or person should interfere. Disgraceful and despicable these reprobate posing as decent and honest people in government. All these rotten eggs do is to feather their own nests. But truth that’s crushed to the ground shall rise again.

  10. Traitors I certainly agree with you and your comments cause I’ve been a victim of SLT disregarding my comments once I bring the truth to light. SLT post my comment, it is factual not offensive

  11. @Vibz you are so correct. Helaire did not only try to defraud the government of St Lucia but also the UK government. St Lucians need to stop being blinded by colour and start watching people for who they are. Wasn’t Richard’s vehicle seized by customs and he was arrested and taken to the Gros Islet police station for under invoicing. Helaire went further than under invoicing, he defrauded.
    I also knew that mediation was among the parties involved in the case, which would have been customs and Helaire. So why was the PM and Speaker present at the mediation. They were not the lawyers of either of the parties. St Lucians the corruption is getting more blatant by the day. We are heading down Haiti’s road.

  12. Keep on not showing the comments on this at St Lucia times! anything you say on hilaire is now censored by this place! you people at online news is part of the st lucian problem; corruption and lies!

  13. @Vibz You stated Dr Hilaire mported a vehicle in the name of a government entity with the intention of defrauding Customs and robbing the country of much needed revenue?

    How can Dr Hilaire defraud the GOSL of any revenue as a returning diplomat government is responsible for clearing the vehicle and pay the duties.
    Clearly you have not understood what went on.

  14. Dear All:

    In MHO, the discussion here would be more fruitful if it focused more on the facts as they were presented in the case filed by the previous Comptroller. It is my understanding that the magistrate was guided by the facts presented in the case and not what was heard/read out there on social media and other extenuating circumstances which bears no merit to the case. It is also my understanding that the customs filed a case merited on the conditions of a pre-delivery that was granted pending documents. Under normal circumstances, a pre-delivery is granted for perishables goods(fruits, vegetables, meat, live plants and animals etc…) and medicine which requires special storage or needed for an urgent medical situation. Outside the norm, Customs would sometimes offer pre-delivery on other items but with an appropriate financial instrument to secure the duties in the form of a Bond, Deposit, Banker’s cheque or the like. In a case such as that of Dr. Hillarie, a calculated risk was taken by the then comptroller to deliver the vehicle without such a security. The said risk is allowed under the customs act which states that the Comptroller MAY require a security under such circumstances. I suppose the consideration was that the standing arrangement for such returning officials is for Government (Min, of Foreign Affairs) to cover all such expenses, hence little or no risk to revenue.

    Now the conditions which warranted a pre-delivery was apparently based on some missing or unacceptable invoices/values and in such cases, the GATT valuation rules which Saint Lucia ascribes to, should have been pursued by Customs in order to arrive at an appropriate value and if warranted, recommend a fine for any breaches to the customs laws. Instead, the then Comptroller (Ag.) decided to detain the vehicle which in effect, revoked the pre-delivery and this too is within the right of the Customs. The new comptroller also has the right to pursue the matter in accordance with the GATT and release the vehicle once those conditions are met. I therefore see no wrong in the manner in which the matter is being resolved by Customs, based on the facts of the case. The external rumblings caused by other information related to theft and otherwise, are all outside the Customs reach, some of which, if true, are matters for the commissioner of police to look into and not Customs.

    I see this experience as an opportunity for many importers to understand their rights when it comes to values declared to Customs, whether via invoices or verbal declaration, the customs should not be allowed to arbitrarily detain vehicles for inconsiderable lengths of time simply because they are not in agreement with the values declared. The recourse under the GATT is for Customs to prove that the declared transaction value is wrong and use one of the GATT valuation methods to facilitate the clearance of the goods, or request of the importer to secure the taxes with an approved means e.g. a bond, whilst the value is being investigated over the recommended period of 3 months. Failure to prove the incorrectness of the value should leave the declared value intact.

  15. Just want to address Highgrade with his abominable foolishness. Your distasteful and utterly disposable comments are precisely what perpetuate this hyper-partisan politics politics in St. Lucia. The Labour Party is no better than the previous administration by their continuation of the corrupt practices that make St. Lucia a pariah country.

    Here it is, a present ministerr of government when in opposition, , imported a vehicle in the name of a government entity with the intention of defrauding Customs and robbing the country of much needed revenue. No sooner has his party gained power the charges were dropped and he got the impounded luxurious vehicle. Is that right? Let the court decide.

    St. Luciana have to stop thinking party and put country first. Does the action taken benefit the country? For taking such an unscrupulous action, the Labour administration should be roundly condemned by all fairy minded and right thinking residents. They are no better than their predecessors.

    I condemned the UWP when they were in office and would do the same with this Labour led government for their every corrupt, unsavory and illicit action. It’s time to call a spade a spade no matter which political party yousupport. We should NEVER call wrong right or curse the messenger and ignore the message.

  16. It’s not a s simple as he paid for the vehicle and it’s his but why didn’t he just pay for it and place it under his name in the first place? Why didn’t he provide the correct documents? What was there to be gained by putting the vehicle under the High Commissioner’s Name? The thing is we are so blinded by the simple things and party colours that we miss what’s really going on. Once you start asking the right questions you can get to the bottom of anything. In my book this man is tainted because of two questionable actions taken by him which shows clearly he’s all about doing anything to make a buck and save a buck by using his power and name. But don’t worry he might have gotten away with the first one and now this the second but he has a thrill for doing such and can’t stop himself so I’m only going to sit back and wait for the next one which will surely come based on his position and his well place friends. If you can’t stop yourself while you are ahead then shait will surely stop you.

  17. @ President he say, stop being an idiot. We know he or she meant precedence. Only idiots seek to ridicule people for simple writing errors.

  18. Chastenet hush your @ss! What happened to the case the government had against you? You took the Soufriere Development Foundation money inappropriately and you were taken to court. Your regime got into power and what happen? No one has heard about you case. You brought in your AG and the case just fizzled away. Please give us some answers . . . How about that! And by the way, there is absolutely no proof of impropriety on The Hon. Hillaire’s part. Only only on the say-so of certain UWP operatives and Chas. They replaced at least two customs heads until they got the patsy Chico.

  19. Growing up I could’ve stood proudly and declare that St.Lucia will never be like Haiti re: Corruption. I take that back, I guess we’ve arrived. From Guy Fox to Chastanet to Ernest. They all are clearly involved in some kind of shady biz under the gize of Government.

  20. St lucia burning under your all a bunch of wicked crooked people in high office..I’m disappointed in the custom office find himself in the maylay God doesn’t like what going on in st lucia..what a pm speaker doing in a court house..prayers for st lucia

  21. @freemason… I know you worship the devil this is why you won’t say anything positive. Go back to history and tell us who really was the slave masters. I think you heard what you said on the market steps. Read for yourself fool. Kenny has the blood of slavery!!!!
    @ rude… since you know everything why didn’t you put up your real name as well. I’m glad you made this point and this is why the UKwill be investigating the matter. You think this is over. These fellas are digging a well for themselves and I say carry on fellas have all your fun with power, for you have not seen what the greatest man can do!!

  22. Chastanet is a bloody white thief, a white thief he is .. His family benefited from the enslavement of black people for over 400 years

  23. Name me one elite in st.lucia or politician that ever got jail, just name me on … I rest my cash. And in this matter all one needs to establish is who own the range rover and how it was obtain, evidence thus far is the Hillair used state money to purchase the vehicle under his diplomatic rule . If the UK haven’t sees it as evasion of taxes then it is the state assets. If he obtain it as being a diplomat as part of his incentive then it is his. . If he defraud the UK then he will not escape jail but if he defraud Lucian tax payers he WILL walk free

  24. Why is such a topic important? The parties that are involved are they not all rich? Why can we focus on the poor people like those who have recently lost their homes and belongings through fire?

  25. @ Rude, you explanation was concise and on point but the vindictive Chastanet and his goons wouldn’t prescribe to your logical thinking. They don’t appreciate sensible reasonings. Chastanet is a sanctimonious autocrat and we shouldn’t be afraid to take him.

  26. When we talk about corruption, that situation with Hilaire and the vehicle even if true, is too petty to pursue in that it may cost more that it is worth .That was probably the practice in the past whereby ambassadors use the privileges they enjoy in their public positions in a private capacity. It is illegal and should not be practiced.

  27. Politician. Politician. If the ball was reversed the same thing would have happened. Why do you think they are all fighting to be in power. Not in our Favour but to correct their wrongs, get their pockets filled as well as their friends. They say in life nothing worth having does not come without sacrifices. Sadly but true when it comes to politics is the lower class that is always being sacrifice. This too shall pass because the Bible says that there is a time and a season for everything under the heavens. So let’s not loose sleep over whether Hilary got his vehicle and try to figure out whether the process was fair. Had it been a uwp in hilaire’s place and the uwp was in power the same would have happened. This is the norm of our beloved and fair st. Lucia where only god can put a hand

  28. Straight since you have a car that customs have detained for 7 months you should not hide behind some kind of fake name

    Chastnet only point was that the vehicle was registered in the name of the commission it that was the reason for detaining the vehicle that is so sick.

    Chastnet and the Accountant General and the Director of Audit would have known if the vehicle was purchased with money from the consolidated fund, thereby becoming the property of government.

    If the registration on the commission name was done to evade UK taxes , then Hillaire defrauded the UK govt. and as such why and how is the govt. of St Lucia getting involved ?

    Government of St Lucia cannot establish that the vehicle was purchased with state funds so what is the issue here apart from political.

  29. The Thrill of Victory The Agony of Defeat…….It’s now Water under bridge ; from your yellow tears of course Head Yellow Clown, the system works bitch all you want along with your paid sympathizer (they know themselves) it will not be reach or overturned so cry your blasted river. I tell the Good Doc already he should file suit against you and your paid crony for defamation of character going all the way back to the elections in Dominica they need to be taught a lesson. Collab with RF and send a message.

  30. The Money man always get away withl anything in St.Lucia .The Judiciary Shitstem is very very Corrupt also the So Called Lawyers and Grudges in St.Lucia

  31. PM Chastanet the word around and highly believed now is that “St Lucia is not a real
    Place”. That was proven yesterday. Now I have a vehicle at customs and I am awaiting g documents for 7 months now I cannot present to customs. A president has been set my lawyer is now in the process of getting my vehicle out with the only doc that I have and trust me I will get it…this is ST. Lucia now.

    I urge everyone to start getting your vehicles out but present you facts based on president.

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