The matriarch of the Gobat family, Helen revealed yesterday that, based on the murder of her son Ollie, she now fears for her life while in Saint Lucia.
Her husband ,Theo says there is “a bit more trepidation on my part. I find myself looking over my shoulder more often these days.”
All of which may explain Wednesday morning’s high level of security at the hotel Cap Maison where the mother and father of Ollie Gobat convened a meeting with the local press, chaired by lawyer and Speaker of the House Peter Foster QC.
At the meeting the Gobats announced a reward of EC$250,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for their son’s murder. Foster started off by thanking the media on behalf of the Gobat family for its assistance. He revisited the day of April 25 when “Ollie Gobat, our beloved son and brother and friend, was brutally and tragically murdered.”
“He was shot,” said Foster, “and his remains and his car set alight and dumped in a remote part of Cap Estate. This was a shocking end to a life so full of promise.”
He described the deceased as a decent, kind and honest individual who did not deserve what he suffered. “The tragedy of this murder has ruined the lives of his family, girlfriend and his many close friends and associates, both here in Saint Lucia and overseas,” Foster said. “His mother, his father, brothers are still in deep mourning for a life so tragically taken.”
He then came to the crux of the press conference, the announcement of the “Justice for Ollie campaign.”
“We ask you now to help us identify and bring Ollie’s killer or killers to justice,” he said. “This fund and campaign comprises family and friends as well as the local and international business community, primarily those within the tourism industry.
“They believe that this crime must be solved, not just for the family but for the benefit of Saint Lucia. To this end a fund to assist the police with the investigation and to employ investigative processes never before used in Saint Lucia, has been set up,” said Foster.
The Gobat personally expressed his thanks to the media for its support of the effort to track down his son’s killers. He recalled coming to Saint Lucia 43 years ago, at the start of a journey into the tourism industry that began at the Halcyon Days in Vieux Fort.
Ollie was born at St. Jude’s. At 13 he was diagnosed with cancer but survived. Ollie had gone on to become “a great athlete and astute businessman.” He was scheduled to represent Saint Lucia at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow this past July, playing his favourite sport, squash.
“I’ve been told by prominent people in Saint Lucia not to worry about this,” Helen Gobat revealed. She was told “This will soon blow away and people will forget about it in a few months.” But many are worried about the lawless state Saint Lucia is gradually becoming.
“People are worried about saying too much,” she added. “So many don’t want to divulge too much. But if we don’t take a stand now, things will never improve and things in Saint Lucia will only get worse and affect our business and other businesses as well.”
It is Mrs. Gobat’s declared hope that Saint Lucians will take a stand and help bring her son’s killers to justice. “This has been a ghastly seven months and it is still in some ways unbelievable . . . a life in its prime . . . We’ve all loved Saint Lucia and we have loved being here for over 40 years. We have worked with people, received love support and loyalty. Saint Lucia has been good to us and we would like to think that we have been good to Saint Lucia as well.”
She said: “The horror of murders like that of Ollie is ruining the image of the island. I’d like to see the evil people who brought this on Ollie be brought to justice for Ollie’s sake, for our sake and the sake of Saint Lucians and people who visit this wonderful island.”
The family is convinced that more than one person was involved in the crime. As for a possible link to a deal gone bad,Peter Foster said the family could not place any link to this. As for the performance of local police in the matter Helen Gobat said she would have liked to have seen things happen faster.
“There were some initial basic mistakes: the car was moved the first night, the body was moved, the crime scene wasn’t cordoned off. But we understand that this is a small country and there is not a super efficient police force and they lack experience.” she says.
She also indicated that a forensic team hired by the family has been endorsed by government. The family is also putting pressure on the UK government, through the Commonwealth Office, for assistance in conjunction with the government since Ollie was a citizen of Saint Lucia, Britain and Australia.
Ollie Gobat was cremated on October 28. His ashes were spread over the bay at Smugglers Cove on Monday November 17—the day he would have celebrated his 39th birthday.
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