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  • Writer's pictureClara

New Group Targets Customs Head to Explain ‘Rovergate’

23 December 2021

The head of the Customs Department is to be pressured into explaining to the St Lucia public the recent withdrawal of charges against Tourism Minister Ernest Hilaire, which were before the court.

In 2020, Customs Officers armed with a warrant detained Hilaire’s Range Rover Sport amid claims that there were irregularities in the importation of the vehicle.

The Discovery Sport was exported to Saint Lucia in December 2015, as a vehicle that was owned by the St Lucia High Commission in London, purchased for the Commission while Hilare was High Commissioner, but on arrival in Saint Lucia, it was registered in Saint Lucia in Hilaire’s name.

Hilaire has been asked by Customs to provide documentation to support his claim that the vehicle is his.

The unprecedented and unexplained withdrawal of charges by acting Comptroller of Customs Sherman Emmanuel has given impetus to the formation of a new entity which has vowed to lobby in search of transparency and justice in the matter that has now come to be referred to as Rovergate.

The new entity – Citizens for Accountability and Transparency (CAT) has taken up as its first course of action, spearheading a “letter writing campaign” targeting the office of acting Comptroller Mr. Sherman Emmanuel.

Saint Lucian citizens on island and in the Diaspora are being called upon to write to the acting Comptroller requesting his reasons and explanation for the decision to withdraw all charges against Hillaire, Minister of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information in relation to the ongoing Range Rover saga.

The letter writing campaign which was launched on Wednesday, 15th. December will continue through to early January, 2022 at which time the group will conduct an assessment and determine new options.

Persons wishing to participate in the letter writing campaign are asked to visit the group’s Facebook page “Citizens for Accountability and Transparency” for information.

Let us all join in a collective expression of concern by writing to the acting Comptroller of Customs to request that he accounts to the people of St. Lucia on the rationale for his recent action which many persons remain concerned about.

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