|Ambassador Herbert speaking at the United Nations|
This is the late William Valentine "Billy" Herbert, Jr., LLB, PhD, the founder of one of St. Kitts' major political parties, the Peoples' Action Movement, or PAM. Dr. Herbert's titles in the Federation of St. Christopher & Nevis included:
(1) Foreign Minister.
(2) Deputy Prime Minister.
(3) Ambassador to the United Nations.
(4) Ambassador to the United States.
(5) Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS).
(6) Minister Plenipotentiary without Portfolio.
In the thirty years since Dr. Herbert's mysterious death, his role, as a founder and funding source for PAM, has been a matter of controversy. I will attempt to clear the air, with regard to my first-hand knowledge, gained as the result of my long-term business relationship with the man. Who was Billy Herbert, and who killed him ?
There has been a lot written about Dr. Billy Herbert, whose estate, filed after his untimely death in the 1990s, was valued at twenty million dollars, though many questions remain. From his law office in Anguilla, Dr. Herbert engaged in laundering the criminal proceeds of narcotics traffickers; I know that because he serviced many of my clients in the 1980s.
Though many people believe, notwithstanding Herbert's flagrant representation of drug kingpins, the reason that his crimes never resulted in his indictment in the United States, due to his high government office. There is, however another, little-known reason. He cooperated with US & UK law enforcement investigators, who ended up in Billy Herbert's Anguilla chambers due to their participation in a major international case. Dubbed "Operation Man," after the discovery that the money laundering operation involved entities in the Isle of Man, The British Virgin Islands, and Liechtenstein, the principal laundryman, Miami criminal defense attorney, Melvin Kessler, invested cleaned drug profits of offshore powerboat racer (and drug smuggler) Benjamin Barry Kramer, in the United States. Readers not familiar with the case can access the details of the money laundering operation in the ancillary portion of the RICO case, against Kramer, Kessler, and other participants here*.
A component of the money laundering pipeline was, investigators learned, a British account, of Irish extraction, named Shaun Patrick Murphy, whose office was located in Roadtown, Tortola, BVI. A pre-dawn raid of his offices uncovered massive amounts of offshore companies, literally on the shelf, formed and sold by Murphy, and used for money laundering. it is assumed that Dr. Herbert's name was in those files, though another credible source stated that Murphy, who was given immunity for his cooperation, identified Herbert as a money launderer on neighboring Anguilla, after which the investigators showed up in Herbert's offices. Murphy was, last I heard, still living anonymously in the Caribbean.
Confronted by law enforcement, in his chambers, Dr. Herbert, according to a number of individuals who were involved in the investigations, invited the agents to review his confidential client files, and promptly took a "vacation" overseas for a week. The agents extracted all the names of American citizens who had purchased bearer share companies from him, and went across the street, with the names of the corporations, to a local bank where Herbert had a financial interest, and froze all the accounts held by those companies; Herbert was never charged.
Now, fast forward a couple of years. Dr. Herbert, with several others, goes out on his yacht, on a fishing trip, from which nobody ever returns. His body was never found, though an American law enforcement source once disclosed to me that he, and all the others on that vessel that day, are buried under a swimming pool in St Kitts. I have never been able to verify this information.
Why the murders ? He was laundering money for the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and it is known that some of that money could not be accounted for; knowing the reputation of the IRA, it is reasonable to assume that they had him killed.**
Could someone else have done it ? Remember, his cooperation with American & British law enforcement, in giving up the identities of his clients, whose accounts were then seized, may have caused one of those unhappy clients to take action against him for betrayal, and loss of their illicit wealth.
Who actually committed the murders ? A Kittitian, who had served as a hit man (15 known murders) for the Jamaican Shower Posse***, Charles Emanuel "Little Nut" Miller, a/k/a Cecil Connor, is thought to be the best candidate for the crime, but no evidence of his guilt has ever surfaced, and he was later extradited to the US, and convicted of major drug offenses. He is currently serving a life sentence at USP Terre Haute, BOP Reg. No. 18123-053.
Where are the remains ? Many years ago, when I was on a panel at an AML conference, a law enforcement official also there advised me that Billy Herbert, and the others on the yacht that day, are all buried under a swimming pool in St Kitts. I wonder which pools were under construction the day that Herbert went fishing ?
As you can see, Billy Herbert remains a mystery thirty years after his death. Just how did he acquire $20m, in just a decade of practicing law ? Did the IRA order his death ? And was dirty money responsible for the birth of the Peoples' Action Movement in St Kitts ?
*US vs. Kramer, 807 F. Supp. 707 (SD FL).
** One source, however, asserts that an agency of the British Government seized the money from a bank account in Europe. This could mean that Herbert was innocent of theft, and was killed in error.
*** So named because they were said to shower their enemies with bullets.