Chief Magistrate warns no break for criminals who claim hardship
Chief Magistrate Pamela Beckles will not be condoning “people who believe they should resort to a life of crime because they have come upon hard times”.
She made that position clear today when a 36-year-old Guyanese national who came into Barbados with four and a half kilogrammes of cocaine appeared before her in the Oistins Magistrates’ Court.
Troy Anthony Erskine was fined $200,000 for importing the drugs on January 30, but he was unable to pay the forthwith fine and will have to spend four years in prison.
He was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the charges of possession, trafficking, and intent to supply.
Acting on a tip, police went to the Oistins jetty last Friday and waited for the arrival of a small boat that usually brings crew members of the Lesley PG oil tanker to shore.
When Erskine disembarked, he was arrested on suspicion of having drugs. He was taken to the Oistins Police Station where a search revealed eight packages of cocaine taped to his body.
Erskine’s attorney, Carol-Ann Best, asked the court to be lenient on her client, explaining that he had seven children ranging in age from five months to 14 years old.
Not only did he have to provide for his children, the lawyer said, but his home in Guyana was up for foreclosure so he took a chance and brought in the drugs.
After Best’s submissions, Magistrate Beckles said she still could not find “one good mitigating factor”.
She also expressed a wider concern that if the cocaine had made its way to the streets, “it would have destroyed a lot of persons”.