Elliot McDowall made the statement during the trial of three men accused of stealing from his business. (iWN photo)

A Vincentian businessman, in an off-the-cuff comment at the Serious Offences Court, on Monday, made it plain that his business is above board when it comes to paying its taxes – unlike some lawyers.

“I am one of the honest guys who operate above board with my company and taxes. You can’t say the same for lawyers based on what’s written in the paper — based on what the papers said and the prime minister said,” Elliot McDowall said at the Serious Offences Court.

His comment came as he was being crossed examined by defence counsel Grant Connell during the trial of three men accusing of stealing EC$85,722.23 in parts for doors and windows from McDowall’s company, Kendra’s Aluminium Ltd.

The men, Philbert Regis, Conroy Trimmingham, and Devon Jack, former employees of the company, are alleged to have committed the crime between Jan. 1, 2014, and March 26, 2018, at Campden Park.

Connell is representing the men, and was asking McDowall, during cross examination, about whether certain contractors buy products from him.

“I don’t check those things daily,” McDowall said when asked if one of those contractors buys his products or has an account with him.

“I only look at what I deposit in the bank daily and what I write in cheques,” he said, adding that that is all he is concerned about.

The defendant, from left: Devon Jack, Philbert Regis and Conroy Trimmingham. (iWN file photos)

Connell asked the businessman if he is only concerned about money, and he said, “Yeah, like any investor.”

Connell asked if it is possible that the contractors could be buying for any of the accused men, and McDowall said he did not know.

Asked further about contractors, McDowall said he does not pay attention to this, adding that his business controls about 90 per cent of the market in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I don’t check on those things,” McDowall said.

Connell them mumbled saying that he hopes “Mr Pompey had a record of that”.

The chief magistrate, Rechanne Browne, asked who was the Pompey to whom Connell was referring and the lawyer indicated that he was referring to the Comptroller of Inland Revenue, triggering the response by McDowall.

The lawyer had previously inquired of the court about a break, and after McDowall’s comment, which triggered some giggling in the courtroom, the chief magistrate said it was a good time to take the break.

The men were initially charged in August 2018 with stealing EC$320,000 worth of items from the business place.

However, in March 2019, as a preliminary inquiry was about to begin into the indictable offence, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that the sum had been reduced to EC$85,722.23.

He further said that the prosecution was proceeding summarily against the men, meaning that their trial could take place before the Serious Offences Court.

The men then pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial continues on Thursday.

2 replies on “Businessman in court: I’m above board with taxes, unlike lawyers”

  1. It is great that Kenton posted this.
    SVG has such a very messed-up system that no one knows who is honest and who is not. All of us have heard that most, if not all lawyers cheat, not only in thier taxes but in many other ways as well.
    Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone.
    It has even been indicated that the government as well as government actors have done this. Remember when a high Customs individual insured his duties on the importation of an expensive item were far lower than the rest of us have to pay? Isn’t it time we looked at our system to try to find a way to not only stop any cheating but to also make the system more fair for those that follow the rules? The taxes concerning business, particularly Customs are a main reason why Saint Vincent stays undeveloped.
    What allegedly happened by individuals in this business is minor compared to what happens every day in Saint Vincent and what these people may have done is not considered much of a crime compared to all those that are allowed to get away with what they do. If everyone that cheats were somehow to be caught, most business in Saint Vincent would stop and we would be further undeveloped than we already are. The government would initially get rich but thereafter be even poorer. .

  2. Grant Connell is an idiot of a lawyer. I don’t know how he wins cases. He appears to depend on showmanship instead of knowledge of law and skill. One must just check out his weak mitigation tactics.

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