Richard Frederick burst onto the political scene as an Independent after winning the Central Castries by-election on March 13, 2006 brought about by the resignation of Saint Lucia Labour Party’s MP Sarah Flood-Beaubrun.
Later endorsed by the United Workers Party (UWP), he was re-elected for the UWP in the general election of December 11, 2006. He became Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal and Local Government in the government of Prime Minister John Compton, on December 19, 2006.
Soon after, in 2007, he became entangled in a Customs scandal when it was alleged that he had submitted fake documents for the importation of two vehicles, resulting in his underpayment of duties.
Following a much publicized Customs investigation, and the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party’s almost nonstop public outcry, Richard Frederick was subsequently arrested by police and Customs officers as he drove to work one early June morning in 2007.
According to reports at the time, Frederick was followed from his home and then blocked by police vehicles on Brazil and Bourbon Streets near J.E. Bergasse. He informed the officers that he was in possession of a firearm which he needed to secure. Although arrested, no charges were filed against him or his brother who was also arrested.
In the ensuing public uproar, allegations were made that Frederick’s arrest was designed primarily to embarrass him and the UWP administration. It was argued that a sitting minister of government could have been easily served rather than executing an arrest in full public view.
He later filed a constitutional motion for unlawful arrest and the detention of his vehicles which were also unlawful. Actions were brought against the Attorney General and the Comptroller of Customs.
After filing their constitutional motions in 2009 the court ordered the release of the vehicles some two years later in 2009.
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 it was ruled that both the detention and arrest were unlawful. The aggrieved parties have been given 14 days to file documents for the assessment of damages which is to be determined at a future date by the courts.
Attempts by ONELUCIAN News to obtain a statement from Richard Frederick were unsuccessful.