Address by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

No charge against man whose American family lived in tent for years

No charge against man whose American family lived in tent for years
17 May
2017

Vencentian police on Wednesday said they were holding for safekeeping, the Vincentian man who was taken into custody on Tuesday after he and his American wife and children were found living in deplorable conditions in a tent on the Northern Grenadine island of Bequia.

investigationSuperintendent of Police Richard Browne, who is responsible for the district in which Bequia is located, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Wednesday that the man, Otis Lockhart, was being kept by police because he has no fixed placed of abode.

Browne said Lockhart’s wife and children are “being taken care off”, but declined to comment further.

The senior police officer further told CMC that police investigations continue to ascertain if any offense has been committed.

He, however, said the police had no information to substantiate the claims being made in some sections of the media that Lockhart had abducted members of his family or was holding them against their will.

Regarding Lockhart, Browne said: “He has been taken from his place of abode in Bequia to the mainland.”

Lockhart is originally from the community of Edinboro and Browne said the police were waiting for his relatives to come in to see what accommodation arrangements can be made for him.

Early Wednesday, a man speaking with an American accent and claiming to be Lockhart contacted iCMC by telephone, saying he had been released from police custody without charge.

During the one-minute call, the man also offered to tell his story .

Subsequent calls to the man’s number went unanswered and police later told us that Lockhart was being kept for safekeeping.

On Tuesday , news broke that police had launched an investigation into a case in which Lockhart and his family had been living in a tent in Bequia for five years.

A police source told CMC that the children where “acting like animals” and appeared to be malnourished.

The family, including the three children — a boy around 13 years old and two girls, believed to be 10 and 8 — were taken to the health centre in Bequia for medical attention before they were all transported to Kingstown.

CMC news obtained a video of the family disembarking a ferry at the Grenadine Wharf in Kingstown, in which they were seen being escorted by at least one uniformed police officer and someone believed to be a social worker

The children were observed walking with a strange gait, but the cause of this is unknown.

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