Published 2 December 2021
Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source
Loops News St. Lucia
Case against Chastanet, Chiquot more important than vehicle – Hilaire
Magistrate Raquel Willie Trotman Thursday morning dismissed the matter against Castries South MP Dr Ernest Hiliare, regarding the seizure of his Land Rover Sport by then Customs Comptroller Peter Chiquot.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse following the ruling, Dr Hilaire said the matter was a wicked abuse of public office against him by former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and that the Customs Comptroller was merely used as a pawn, albeit a willful one.
“For me, the case against Chiquot and the case against Allen Chastanet is more important than even getting the vehicle back. The vehicle is just a vehicle. I’ve not had it for one year,” said Hilaire.
“The deeper issue is what Chiquot and Allen Chastanet did, malfeasance in public office. Allen Chastanet abused his office as prime minister to go after a political opponent to discredit him, to try and destroy his character locally, regionally, internationally, and he used public office to do so. Peter Chiquot participated in that knowingly, that what he was doing was wrong,” Hilaire stated.
Customs seized Hilaire’s Land Rover Sport SUV in November 2020, alleging that Hilaire failed to submit the relevant documents for the importation of the vehicle while he served as High Commissioner to the UK.
“The Magistrate having reviewed the matter said this should not have been before the court and it should be settled in mediation, and we were able to resolve it in mediation… I’m glad that this chapter is over,” said Hilaire.
A mediation session was held yesterday where the new Acting Comptroller decided to drop all charges against Dr Hilaire claiming the actions by his predecessor were unnecessary.
The vehicle is expected to be released on Friday, December 3, to be delivered to the MP no later than next Friday.
“I don’t even know if I feel vindicated, because I did nothing wrong. But, they went out to destroy your character, destroy your name, the pain that your family goes through, your children…why?”
“They did it because they know at the end of the day, it is a state that will have to pay the costs and not them personally,” he said.
He continued, “Even if it means the state now has to pay significant amounts of money they were going to hurt me because I dared Allen Chastanet and Guy Joseph by waving the key saying I have done nothing wrong come for the keys if y’all want. It shows the disregard they have for the laws of this country. And in a sense you know, Peter Chiquot offered himself on the request of the Prime Minister, as somebody who can get it done. Two Comptrollers before you said there was no basis for that and he went out to get the job done he acted as a hatchet-man in a political job and it’s totally unacceptable,” Hilaire told reporters.
Hilaire will also be compensated, a figure to be determined following discussions with the various attorneys.