May 26, 2017
Otis Lockhart probe to be completed soon

The full investigation surrounding Otis Lockhart and his family will be completed in a few days.

The Bequia family is being investigated by the Child Development Unit and Social Welfare Unit, following reports they were living in unacceptable conditions in a tent.

Minister of National Mobilization, Social Develop­ment, Family, Gen­der Affairs and Persons with Disabilities Frederick Stephenson, speaking outside Cabinet Room on Wednesday, said the Family Services Division continues to deal with the matter involving Lockhart, his wife and the three children.

Lockhart was detained by police on Monday May 15, after someone reported that the living conditions of the family were inadequate. At the time the family occupied a tent on Bequia and it was alleged that the American citizen was holding his America-born wife and three children against their will on a part of the island called St Hilary.

The kidnapping report was later dismissed by police.

Stephenson told SEARCHLIGHT the wife and children are currently living with Lockhart’s father, Leslie Francis, in Edinboro.

Ministry of Education officials, along with pediatrician Dr Miriam Sheridan and clinical psychologist Dr Jozelle Miller, had been brought into the investigation, the Minister added.

“The Ministry is dealing with the children in relation to their educational capacity and as far as the information gathered the children are able to read and write according to their ages,” Stephenson revealed.

“The investigations are continuing and because they are Americans, the US Embassy is involved,” Stephenson noted.

The Child Development Unit and Social Welfare Unit visited Bequia yesterday and a preliminary report is expected to be submitted to Stephenson by today, Friday, May 26, with the full investigation expected to be completed in a few days.

Stephenson added that while persons may say that the authorities overreacted, reports were made and they had to follow up.

“We had a situation, people called in the police, social welfare was called in and we are doing what we do,” Stephenson said.

In an interview last week with SEARCHLIGHT, Lockhart said he had been unfairly treated by the media, but admitted he had made some mistakes along the way.