Chastanet Says Hilaire Land Rover Case Raises More Questions

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Press Release:-  The alleged withdrawal of the Customs & Excise case against former Saint Lucia High Commissioner Ernest Hilaire has raised even more questions than provided
answers as to whether Hilaire used our nation’s UK office to evade taxes on a Land Rover Sport in 2015.

Upon arrival in Saint Lucia the vehicle was listed as a state asset yet was released to Hilaire on pre-delivery pending further documentation.

Hilaire was given several occasions to produce the documentation to Customs and his refusal finally resulted in charges being brought against him.

The latest reported developments of the case being withdrawn by Customs with no explanation suggests contempt for the public’s right to know. Additionally, Ernest Hilaire is currently the nation’s Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information and in charge of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) – positions that require the highest levels of INTEGRITY, ETHICS AND TRUST.

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The lack of transparency with regard to the vehicle, brings into question the quality of persons holding such positions within the Government and the public concern as to whether Hilaire abused his office, has not been laid to rest.

Leader of the Opposition Honourable Allen Chastanet explained that, “Resolving this case in a manner that is transparent and certain is important to public trust. This case has never been arbitrated because the Comptroller of Customs chose to withdraw the case and now both Hilaire and the Comptroller of Customs owe it to the public to explain why.”

Chastanet also reminded that the case started due to an official letter to Customs
from the Director of Finance in 2017, which according to records from the United Kingdom belonged to the state. The Customs Comptroller also owes an explanation to the Ministry of Finance.

“Has Hilaire finally perfected his entry to Customs?” asked Chastanet. “Has the Customs department received the documents requested which were a Supplier’s Commercial invoice for sale of the vehicle, Proof of payment to the supplier, the Diplomatic Sales Vehicle Quote, Vehicle registration documents from the driver and vehicle licensing agency in London and The application to purchase a British Car at a tax-exclusive Price? The public needs to know the answer to these and more questions.”

The former Prime Minister stated that until these questions are answered, there will continue to be a cloud of mistrust surrounding Investment Minister Ernest Hilaire and the entire Government, in particular the Minister for Finance.

Among the other questions to be answered Chastanet said were:

● Who is legally the owner of the Land Rover Sport in question?

● Why was the vehicle purchased in the name of the High Commission
and not in the name of Hiliare?

● Why didn’t Hiliare purchase the vehicle in his name as is the case for
all private citizens?

● Did Hiliare enjoy any financial benefit from the fact that the vehicle
was purchased in the name of the high commission as opposed to
him in his private capacity?

● Did Hiliare or his agent/representative commit an offence contrary to
section 2 the UK Fraud Act?

● Did Hiliare benefit from Vat exemption for 2 vehicles when he was
only entitled to benefit from Vat exemption in relation to 1 vehicle?

● Who advised that the vehicle be purchased by and in the name of the
High Commission?

● Why wasn’t the Director of Finance informed of the purchase of the
vehicle in the name of the High Commission or its disposal contrary
to the Finance (Administration) Act?

● Should customs be looking at other charges regarding the vehicle if
the issue of ownership cannot be settled?

● If a vehicle is paid for by one person but bought in the name of
another, who does the vehicle legally belong to?

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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.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Chastenent was the PM of this country when this whole saga started and got to the point where the vehicle was repossessed. He had all resources available to him. Why did he not seek answers to these questions. Shouldn’t these questions have been answered before the vehicle was taken away? Now in opposition you have 1000 questions. Don’t allow politicians to fool us.

  2. A thief don’t like another thief to steal from him. When these Ministers are being giving more than one portfolio they are collecting an astronomically salary, But chas you also have someone of questionable character holding that position. The reality is that no politicians should be trusted and it is good for the voters because you are allowing it, then barking like a chewawa in a pitbull domain.

  3. What about answering the questions about the due diligence with 7.3 million for the Covid vaccine we never received?

  4. Chastanet why don’t you shut your ass? You and Guy did so much stuff for the five years you all were in office., you both need to be investigated and put in prisión. You have sone nerve.. What did you do for St Lucia and the St Lucian people,? All you did was put us in more debt. You big liar
    .

  5. Loser loser next 5 years by then the rover will be a derelict and hope your constituents vote you , we still want the vaccine monies. Jail

  6. The vehicle was bought by someone entitled to the tax exemption: a friend he liar placed in a diplomatic position at IMO with juffali. T Will I Ams was placed there to help facilitate he liars agenda the same way he has again placed his best buddies in key positions to facilitate whatever plans he may have. In time to come this friend who helped perpetuate this con against the UK government will be rewarded. He Liar was entitled to one concession not two and the fact that he got two shows the extent people would go to out of greed. . Shameful that you would both sacrifice your integrity for this.

  7. No wonder most people think of politicians as liars and thieves. They have zero credibility. When in opposition they give the impression that the ordinary people are their main concern and focus. As soon as they form the government they become corrupt, avaricious, self-centered and aloof.

    Chastanet should not let this matter rest. The poor citizens should be outraged. This sort of corruption deprives the government treasury of well needed cash. It prevents civil servants from getting a raise in salary, roads being fixed, schools being repaired and I could continue ad nauseam.

    The leader is just as guilty. Any honest influential person in leadership would have made Hilaire face the music at a court of law. The present leader seems spineless, malleable and in over his head. The tail is wagging the dog.

  8. Didn’t Keith Mondesir, when he was a member of parliament and of the United Workers Party under your leadership Mr. Chastanet, buy furniture for his private use, under the name of his villa to avoid taxes?

  9. I feel sorry for the new high commissioner and his new team who have to face the UK officials under this SLP government after the juffali and this range rover scandal which involved a minister pf theirs who was their high Commissioner then. I wouldn’t want to be associated with them at this point. St. Lucians in the UK are still embarrassed by it. This scandal is everlasting. And to think this man he liar believes himself to be the cream of the crop to the point of thinking no one can replace him. Man GTFOH.

  10. Long story short. He didn’t go by the book. It was short cut and the two former comptroller didn’t see a problem with it as well as the first magistrate who sent it to mediation. Apparently they are used to short cuts as far as I see it.

  11. If Hilaire wanted to clear his name then he would simply just present all the facts. If he doesn’t then something clearly is fishy there. If he brought the vehicle down in the name of the state to not pay taxes then hes a crook.

  12. you know as much as i want this to rest chastanet is really asking some serious questions for tru that needs to be answered cause if you buying a vehicle why all these name changes and stuff its clearly he wanted to evade some kind of taxes and wanted to do it in some way or form that looks legal cause if i buy a vehicle in my name when it comes on the port you have to pay taxes to clear it but if its a vehicle owned by the state nothing is being paid at all. so it also leaves questions to other citizens that have bought vehicles and customs doing them dirty

  13. Take all of them to the local courts! Hilarious the Queen of Comedy never disappoint! how the man think he can get away with blatant fraud like that?? the AG, the customs man, all of them who give him back the vehicle should face the law as far as I am concerned! dis volaire must go!

Comments are closed.

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