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Why question presence of Mr Whyte on boat?


Tue, Oct 2, 2012

Editor: I listened with great interest to the conversation which took place between the DPP and radio personality Too Cool Chris concerning the release of the Venezuelans involved in the incident in Union Island, in which customs guard Whyte lost his life; and to be honest, after listening to the conversation, a number of questions came to mind.{{more}}

Firstly, according to the DPP, one of the reasons for dropping the case was because of the absence of a statement from the Customs Department concerning the incident. Apparently, the Customs Department was supposed to provide a statement of the incident; however, after three months, this statement was not provided; thus, the DPP used this as one of the reasons to discontinue the case. Hearing this as a reason for discontinuing the case left me in a state of shock. Therefore, I would like to inquire of the DPP if one of the functions of his office, inter alia, isn’t to peruse case files and ensure that they are ready for court appearances; and in the event these files are not ready, contact will be made with the relevant personnel to provide the necessary information in order to ensure that the files are adequately prepared for court?

Another question I would like to ask of the DPP is why he questioned the presence of the customs guard on the boat, while neglecting to ask the same question of the police officer?

I am sure that the DPP because of the high office he holds will be aware that once a ship is coming to St Vincent and the Grenadines from a foreign port, the captain or agent of that ship is obligated to inform the Comptroller of Customs of the intended time of arrival of that ship, and failure to do so, is a violation of the Customs Act. The DPP will also be aware that the Customs Department is also the authority for the boarding of ships arriving from a foreign port. So, again Mr DPP, why question the presence of Mr Whyte on the boat?

In conclusion, I must say that it is very unfortunate that many Vincentians have now politicized this issue. However, I refuse to go down that political road. I will simply say that Mr Whyte was not only my friend, he was also a husband, a father and a Vincentian. So therefore, when decisions like these are made, even though they are within the ambits of the law, it will appear as if foreigners are given preference over Vincentians. Thus, it is obvious and natural that it will evoke some form of emotional outburst from individuals.

Leroy James