Another grisly murder, another headache for La Corbiniere!

Ollie Gobat: The  thirteenth homicide  victim of 2014.

Ollie Gobat: The
thirteenth homicide
victim of 2014.

On the evening of Friday, April 25, fire personnel responded to a report from the Cap Estate area: a vehicle was on fire. They were busy trying to extinguish the flames when one fireman discovered a charred body in the vehicle’s front seat. By early Saturday morning reports were all over the internet, supplied by self-styled reporters with cell phones. They not only supplied the victim’s identity, but also the motive behind the murderous fire.

On Monday there was still no official statement from the local police, save to say that beleaguered Police Commissioner Vernon Francois was off island “on official business.” Meanwhile, ACP Frances Henry was down south at a “special meeting.”

The STAR has since learned about an autopsy on the body around 3pm on Monday, in the presence of a lawyer, a doctor, a police officer and family members, who confirmed the victim was Oliver Gobat, a well-known realtor and hotelier.

While the local press was reluctant to publish officially unconfirmed reports, the UK Daily Mail had already identified the victim as 38-year-old “millionaire British hotelier Oliver Gobat.” The Mail report also revealed that Gobat’s charred remains had been found in the front passenger seat of his burned-out Range Rover. Moreover, that he had twice been shot in the head “on the tropical island of Saint Lucia.”

Up to press time, the local police have neither denied nor confirmed the detailed reports on the internet.

Oliver Gobat operated the Cap Maison Resort and Spa at Cap Estate. He was also on the management team of The Landings at Pigeon Island.

Generally referred to as Ollie, Gobat was born in Saint Lucia to parents originally from England. He represented Surrey juniors at cricket and attended Leeds University, before moving to Australia to help launch a health and fitness club in Adelaide. In Saint Lucia he was considered an avid squash and golf player. We were informed that he played his final round at the Golf Club in Cap Estate mere hours before his grisly death—with a leading local politician.

We’ve been reliably informed that homeowners at The Landings have been formally informed of Gobat’s death.

Just last year The STAR conducted an interview with Gobat, following prime minister Kenny Anthony’s statement that The Landings was in receivership. Gobat denied the announcement and expressed fears that what the PM said would not only hurt staff morale, but adversely affect the hotel’s relationship with their suppliers.

“What such misleading information does is . . . affect our different vested interests and parties. So if the travel industry hears about that, [it affects] all the different relationships we have been building with operators around the world. If they hear that, they get particularly cautious. They get nervous, they stop selling us and this affects business.”

Oliver Gobat had also expressed concern about escalating crime on the tourism-driven island, as well as rising unemployment.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep our staff happy and to keep them working,” he said, “because we are aware of the unemployment figures. Whatever the level of crime, it not only affects one sector of the society it affects all of us.”

He said the authorities needed to invest more in the fight against crime and on efforts at job creation.

The homicide figure for 2014 now stands at thirteen. The details surrounding the three latest fatalities, including Oliver Gobat, remain shrouded in mystery. One body is yet to be identified. Another was discovered two weeks ago at Gros Islet, concidentally a few feet from The Landings.

Forensic scientist Louis Murray has also expressed his particular concerns, citing the burned body discovered in Bel Air last October, as well as Gobat’s murder on Friday night.

Speaking to HTS News on Monday, Murray underscored his past reluctance to speculate. He said: “I remember saying when the question was first put to me that we were not necessarily witnessing a trend. But now I can see it might well be just that, since it is one with a fair amount of success attached.

“If you cannot identify a body quickly your investigation suffers. If you have no idea who the victim is, where do you start? The police are placed at a disadvantage that the perpetrators welcome. It is a worrying trend.”

Murray said the pathologist, crime scene investigators and forensic scientists must work together. He said the latest case brought to the fore the importance of forensic science, which he has been reiterating for some time now, while the forensic lab remains the closest thing to a white elephant.

The STAR has written extensively about Saint Lucia’s forensic lab and its deficiencies. We’ve been informed that two Saint Lucians remain unemployed despite their forensic science qualifications.

With our dysfunctional forensic lab, and our under-manned and under-financed police force under investigation, it is small wonder that more and more Saint Lucians have lost confidence in our justice system.

It takes years before inquests get underway—as has been the case with Hannah Defoe, whose death by electrocution at a local hotel two years ago remains unresolved.

Few have any faith in the DPP’s office or in the man responsible for the police and crime-fighting in Saint Lucia. Indeed, many have been calling for the dismissal of Senator Philip La Corbiniere, the Justice Minister.

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10 Responses to Another grisly murder, another headache for La Corbiniere!

  1. Luther williams says:

    Don’t know who is worse LaCorb or Guy Mayers.Guy was less arrogant but in terms of competence mem bagai

  2. Alexandra Gourdomichalis says:

    Rest in peace Ollie Gobat.

  3. Jesus preached that we should give Cesar his due………born in an animal barn to a wood worker Jesus was not lazy…….or foolish to keep trying the same colonialistic approach………Kenny wanted to lead we demand he lead us out of this mess……imagine the USA have our force suspect……the same USA we use to persecute us in the Vince and stlucia hills….stlucia only problem is that we have no real leader…….when I was getting hoarse for slp the first Time around ….I never thought the professor was real……oh we’ll…….while we wait for a leader stlucia is a crisis center……choops

  4. G says:

    My condolences to the Gobat Family. We only too well what you are going through as we went thru this in 2011 when our Mother was murdered in St Lucia. Our prayers and strength are with you all.

  5. MHyacinth says:

    As a child of St.Lucian parents – born in England but nevertheless been raised to have both pride and love for my ancestral home, I am saddened by this disturbing trend emerging in St.Lucia. I and my peers have always held the Island in high regard a true example of how beautiful both the Island and St.Lucian’s are as a country and people. Never have I considered the Island to be on the same level as other less ‘safe’ Islands but, alas it seems this is where the Island is heading. We in England don’t hear about St.Lucia very often apart from sporting events, sun filled destination and so forth. So it disturbs us that this is no longer the case. I am sure we are not alone in feeling…

  6. As Casey Kasem would say “it’s another hit” but Shaggy would sing ” it wasn’t me”. Well well well drama again in Stiff Upper Lip Estaes not the kind of Rambo Style one is use to hearing about on Grass Street, Marchland and the “usual” it’s cleaner. It seems the chickens are coming home to roost these days; the bigger heads in the two communities are very much intertwine trust me I KNOW. What !! No mention of the Leahy Law as if it would have made “a difference” in this case wouldn’t you agree Mr Nicholas; your is nod is accepted too Learie. In the words of Mike Bloomberg, “Shady business deals only produce shady results”.

  7. Agnes says:

    Jesus is the ANSWER to everybody’s problem, if only everyone would be obedient to the call of God to forget about ourselves, repent of our sins, then all will have a change of heart, because the problem is in the heart, then and only then our once sweet St.Lucia will be again a better place.

  8. Terry James…..Paul maturing….Patrick David Winston brow….What will it take to fix our outdated laws that allow murder to walk gun crimes get bail …women and children suffer daily ……crime can never fix crime……..think afro

  9. Anon says:

    So what is going to be done to resolve this and the hundreds of unresolved cases, even those where people have been arrested and charged within days of a murder?

    • Barrie Hesketh says:

      I do believe that the fact the police removed the car within 2 hours and by doing that compromised the crime scene to be absolutely criminal negligence. It took them hours to get there and then they did not access possible forensic evidence. These facts have to be addressed by the Government, Ollie Gobat and all other previous victims deserve much better than this. The Government and Police are silent – this is totally unacceptable.

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