By Shermain Bique-Charles
Scotland Yard detectives will not be taking part in Nigel Christian’s murder investigation after the Antigua and Barbuda government declined a request made by the London-based police force.
As a condition of helping with the probe into July’s killing of the Customs inspector, Britain had requested a guarantee that the death penalty would not be sought should a party be found guilty.
Minister of Foreign Affairs EP Chet Greene told Observer yesterday that the government has officially informed Scotland Yard that the request could not be granted.
“They are aware of our situation. We cannot grant them that wish. That which they are asking for is the preserve of the judiciary,” he explained.
Greene said, had such a deal been struck, it could have serious implications for the sitting government.
“If we granted that request, anybody, everybody have a right to be suspicious that the government is meddling in judicial matters when it suits their interest,” Greene explained.
Furthermore, the Foreign Affairs minister claimed such a move would be illegal.
“We will never cross those lines because it is a clearly established line. It is really a legal anomaly to put the government in such an awkward position and opens the government to ridicule, speculation and anything untoward,” he said.
Scotland Yard has acknowledged the decision, leaving the government to conclude that it will not assist with the murder case.
Capital punishment remains on Antigua and Barbuda’s statute books, although it has not been imposed since 1991.
High-ranking Customs officer Christian was abducted from his McKinnons home by four men on the afternoon of July 10.
His bullet-riddled body was found a few hours later on a dirt road in the vicinity of New Winthorpes Village.
Meanwhile, the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is said to have been assisting with the murder probe remotely.