FBI set to help solve Customs inspector’s murder

Nigel Christian
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By Elesha George

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Help is being sought from both the FBI and London’s Scotland Yard police to help solve the gruesome murder of Customs inspector Nigel Christian.

On Thursday evening, Foreign Affairs Minister EP Chet Greene told Observer that letters had already been dispatched to the Resident Commissioner of the United Kingdom in Antigua and to FBI agents based in Barbados.

The decision was taken following Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting where the Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney asked for the agencies’ assistance.

At a press briefing on Thursday, it was revealed that the FBI had already been in touch offering help.

It is not clear what role the agents will play as local police continue their investigation into last Friday’s killing. But their input is likely to be welcomed by many residents who have been clamouring for outside assistance in finding the killers.

Christian, 44, was a high-ranking Customs inspector who was forcibly taken from his McKinnons home in the presence of his mother. His body was discovered a short time later near New Winthorpes with several bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, a prior attack on another Customs officer – Cornell Benjamin – is still under investigation. Benjamin was shot in both legs last October, after the barking of his dogs alerted him to men hiding in the bushes in his yard.

The latter incident occurred three days after Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed a potential tax fraud among brokers that robbed the Customs department of more than $3 million dollars.

After receiving treatment from Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) for a short while, Benjamin was flown to Jamaica for further medical attention and has remained there, according to Lionel Hurst, Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Both Benjamin and Christian worked closely with the Enforcement Unit at the Customs and Excise Division.

Benjamin was said to have led the investigation into the missing funds while Christian was integral to the success of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) world programme, which allows workers to closely scrutinise operations involved in the clearance of goods at the port. Christian is said to have been one of the key people who identified discrepancies in port protocols and financial activities.

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