There is still no indication as to if or when police will charge two prominent businessmen and an unknown third person being questioned in connection with a $3 million drug bust aboard the luxury yacht Ecstasy, which is owned by Goddard Enterprises Limited.
Charles Herbert, the chairman of Goddard Enterprises and head of the Barbados Private Sector Association, and the company’s non-executive director Chris Rogers, were transferred today from the police station in Oistins, Christ Church to the Criminal Investigation Department in Fontabelle, St Michael, where lawmen continued their probe into the discovery of the drugs on board the yacht which had returned to Barbados from Grenada.
The third person of interest, who it was alleged was hired to work on the vessel, but who the company has since identified as a staff member, is still being interrogated at the Oistin’s police station. Attorney-at- law Andrew Pilgrim, QC, is representing Herbert and Rogers, while Arthur Holder, who serves as Speaker of the House of Assembly, told Barbados TODAY he was providing legal counsel for the person of interest.
Neither attorney would provide any details about the investigation, which has gone past the 48-hour period during which police can legally hold people being questioned, without laying charges.
In a media release yesterday, the Royal Barbados Police Force said members of the Drug Squad discovered a quantity of marijuana on the yacht about 1 p.m. on Monday and that “three crew members” were being questioned in connection with the find.
“On Monday 23rd July 2018 about 1 p.m., members of the Royal Barbados Police Force’s Drug Squad unit conducted an operation on board a Barbados registered vessel at the Bridgetown Port, St Michael.
“As a result of that operation, a quantity of marijuana was found. Three crew members are currently assisting police with investigations,” the release said without naming the vessel, those on board or the value of the confiscated drugs.
It was not immediately known when the luxury vessel left Barbados, or if it made any stops other than in Grenada.
Goddard Enterprises released a statement today in which it said the company had made some adjustments as a result of the development, naming Deputy Chairman William Putnam as Acting Chairman. It said Anthony Ali, the chief executive officer, was in Ecuador on company business.
In the statement, signed by Putnam, Goddard Enterprises said it “has become aware of a situation involving its vessel, two of its directors and a staff member, who have been detained by the police”.
It further stated that while no one had been charged at this point, the company was confident that “police are engaged in their usual high standard of investigations and look forward to putting the matter behind them once the facts are fully known”.
“The company wishes to assure all of its stakeholders that it continues to uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity which have been the backbone of this organization from its very beginnings,” the statement said.
Police have yet to issue an update since yesterday’s brief statement, however, sources have told Barbados TODAY all parties who were on the yacht could be held responsible for the contraband under the doctrine of common enterprise, if no one admitted to knowledge of the drugs.
“This is a private yacht belonging to Goddards. It is not a vessel that every Tom, Dick and Harry off the streets can just board and have the run of it. So those on board would have to provide answers,” a police source stated on condition of anonymity.
Goddard Enterprises Limited is a publicly traded company, listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange.
Its subsidiary companies are involved in airline catering, industrial and restaurant catering, meat processing, bakery operations, automobile retail and automotive parts, real estate, the manufacture of aerosols and liquid detergents, investments, rum distilling, general trading, packaging, fish and shrimp processing, property rentals, general insurance, financing, as well as shipping agents and stevedoring, the company says on its website.
Goddard had revenues of $205.8 million for the quarter ending December 31, 2017, an increase of 3.7 per cent over the corresponding period in 2016, with growth registered mainly across it auto, building supplies and services division, according to its financial statement.