By Keryn Nelson
British national Robert Hathaway, 66, was reportedly found dead in his Piat, Grand Rivere, Gros-Islet residence close to midday on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Allegedly, Hathaway’s body was discovered resting on a blood-soaked a bed. Accounts of who made the discovery vary, however Saint Lucian police arrived on the scene after being alerted via a 911 call made by a neighbour. Local officers say they have since launched an investigation into the incident and are currently awaiting post-mortem results.
Friends of the deceased openly reacted to the news once details surfaced on Sunday afternoon. “…He truly loved this island and its people. It’s a terrible loss for all of us that his life was snatched away like that,” one individual posted on an online forum. Keats Compton, President of the Marine Industries Association, of which Hathaway was Vice president, was quoted as saying in several news reports, “Bob was a pal of mine. He was on the executive committee of the association and he was an integral part of it… [his death] is a big shock to me.”
Hathaway was originally from Wiltshire, England. He travelled on and off to Saint Lucia from 2001—when he first purchased land on the island— eventually establishing and operating local based business, Marigot Sunshine Ltd. Sources say, Hathaway was a permanent resident of Saint Lucia for the past five years, excluding 2017 which he spent primarily in Saint Vincent. Acquaintances say Hathaway was married to a local woman, however this is unconfirmed.
Hathaway’s death is recorded as Saint Lucia’s first homicide for 2019 and has understandably garnered much attention from British press. The incident occurred 59 days after British national Roy Broughtonwas last seen in Saint Lucia’s Rodney Bay Marina on November 15, 2018. The murder case of Roger Pratt, a British man who lost his life on the night of January 17, 2014 – after he and his wife Margaret Pratt were attacked in Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia, onboard their private sea vessel, Magnetic Attraction – also resurfaced in December of last year. Ms Pratt who continues to seek legal resolve via the “Justice for Roger” campaign, returned to Saint Lucia from England for the first time in over four years for updates on the trial of the four men who have been charged with the murder of her husband.
Saint Lucia’s homicide count for 2018 was 42, less than 2017’s 60—one of the highest in the country’s modern history. Early last year, the island’s Police Commissioner, Monchery Severin publicly declared a goal for Saint Lucia to keep its homicide count below 25, promising a crack-down on crime. However, Severin acknowledged the missed target during a press conference at the end of the year: “Anytime you have plans and strategies you will have targets. I would have preferred for us to not have any homicides; 25 would have been realistic as far as I’m concerned.” The statement came before assistant Commissioner of Police, Wayne Charlery announced that police had made headway with a mere 17 of Saint Lucia’s then 41 homicide cases for 2018, as suspects were arrested and remained on remand at the Bordelais Correctional facility.
During The Prime Minister’s State of The Nation New Year’s address on the evening of Sunday January 13, Allen Chastanet declared, in part, the following message regarding local crime:
“In today’s world, if you do not have CCTV cameras, a forensic lab, a justice and court system that is working in tandem; if you do not have a DPP’s office that is properly staffed; if policemen don’t have proper communication systems and vehicles; if you do not have court buildings, you cannot say you are serious about fighting crime…
From the onset of our administration, we’ve taken steps to combat crime at all levels including instituting social programs that address crime at its root cause… We appointed a Director of Prosecution (DPP) and increased resources for the DPPs office. The new police headquarters will also include six new courts, a state of the art control center and improved facilities for our police. Strategically, we’ve taken procedures to strengthen our police force and justice system however, we realize we still have a long way to go in providing the basics that are vital to serious crime fighting. We have invested in CCTV cameras and police communication systems which will be operational within weeks.
We are putting all of the necessary resources in place but simply, we will be asking for accountability. One of the specific goals of the social services programs has been the welfare of the poor, the marginalized and the disadvantaged. In this respect… we’ve increased and improved the elderly care-givers program, increased the number of social workers, upgraded legislation dealing with the welfare of children, expanded our after school programs and are seeking to engage more young people to join clubs and not gangs. As our government puts these measures in place, we continue to appeal to all Saint Lucians; let us do our part as good citizens, to discourage crime and support our police force.”
At time of writing, Caribbean Chronicle was informed of Saint Lucia’s second recorded homicide of 2019; the death of 20-year-old Hendy Calderon who was shot in Castries, Saint Lucia, at around 9:30 pm on Monday, January 14.