The death of the virtual complainant has not curtailed a police Fraud Squad investigation into what some have described as “a massive property appropriation case” that has allegedly passed through the hand of dozens of lawyers over nearly three decades.
Today, mystery still surrounds the apparent disappearance of deeds and official files related to the estate of Violet Beckles.
But Fraud Squad detective, Station Sergeant Mark White, told Barbados TODAY that the case was a “very” technical one, and they were trying to determine if it was criminal or civil matter. Added to that, said White, was the fact that the virtual complainant, Beckles had died.
However, the investigator gave the assurance that the matter was still active. He suggested though that the executor and trustee, Alex Mitchell, could in the meantime, begin a civil case.
In explaining the background to this situation, Mitchell, who is a private investigator, told this newspaper that the estate in question, was handed down by Beatrice Henry, a wealthy businesswoman formerly of Lakes Folly in the City, to Beckles, her niece, who lived at King Street, also in the City. Mitchell said that Henry, who was born in 1892 and died in December 1985, while Beckles who passed away in 2010 at the age of 93.
“Based on the information that we have gathered, from about 1926 to about 1978, or around that period, she (Beckles) has been buying plantations that were up for auction when sugar prices fell in Barbados,” he recalled. “The plantation deeds were given to … [an attorney]; and Violet Beckles stated to the police Fraud Squad, that after she gave those to him, six months later [he] said he couldn’t find the deeds; and therefore a search went [was undertaken] to recover the information that was missing.
“Based on the information that we captured, the deeds and everything with her name on it, seems [not] to be in place. Information at the Archives and Land Registry are missing, removed or stolen or destroyed, and new titles have been popping up all over the place with no clear title.”
Mitchell said all he wanted now was for “the police investigations which started in 2010 and were stopped after late Prime Minister David Thompson died, to resume and to get the findings”.
He told Barbados TODAY there was a need for an audit of certain government departments, including Land Tax, Land Registry, Archives and National Insurance to get clarity on the various files and documents related to the inherited estate of Violet Beckles. (EJ)