Authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) on Thursday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of British-born businessman, Dave Ames, of Buccament Bay Resort fame.
The warrant was issued amidst fears that Ames, who is also a Vincentian citizen, might have left the country after being summoned to court to hear tax evasion and theft charges.
Ames and Vincentian solicitor Samuel E. Commissiong are jointly charged with tax evasion.
Commissiong is lawyer and company secretary for Harlequin Property SVG and its Buccament Bay Resort.
The Crown is alleging that Ames failed to pay over to the Inland Revenue Department almost EC$2 million in income tax that he allegedly deducted from his employees’ wages and salaries, a source with knowledge of the case told iWitness News on condition of anonymity.
Prosecutors had earlier this week ordered Ames to appear before Magistrate Bertie Pompey at the Kingstown Magistrate’s court on Wednesday, a law enforcement source told iWitness News.
Ames failed to turn up.
On Thursday, Commissiong was at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, where Pompey was presiding over liquor license application, an administrative function.
Around 9:15 a.m., before the liquor license proceedings began, Commissiong rose and asked the magistrate for an adjournment in his matter.
The prosecution, however, said such an application should be made when the matter is called. He also noted that counsel for the state was scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m.
Commissiong told the court that he was giving testimony at the High Court building, where the High Court of England & Wales is meeting in SVG to hear evidence in Harlequin’s US$70 million claim for professional negligence against its former accountants and auditors Wilkins Kennedy — a firm.
The magistrate told the lawyer that he would consider the adjournment, adding that the lawyer could go to the High Court and he would consider granting the adjournment.
However, Commissiong had concluded his testimony on Wednesday afternoon and the judge in that matter, Mr. Justice Colson, told him he was released.
iWitness News understands that the matter will be called again on Monday.
The development has resulted in talks of apparent favourable treatment by the authorities of certain persons who are accused of breaking the law.
Persons have questioned why Ames was not arrested earlier this week, including on Tuesday, when he and his wife were at the High Court building listening to testimony in the civil matter.
iWitness News understands that a lawyer for Ames had lobbied the authorities not to arrest him in light of the hearings in Kingstown in the civil suit his company had filed in England.
The hearings in SVG in that matter were concluded Thursday afternoon.