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Fisherman’s Plea

Vincentian appeals to barbadian authoritues to release his boat

Fighting back tears, the Vincentian owner of a fishing vessel, held here as evidence in a major drug case, this morning made an impassioned plea to the authorities here to return his only means of providing for his family.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY via telephone from his homeland, the trembling voice of Lenford Jack cried out to Barbadian law enforcement and judicial officials to relieve him of his suffering.

Lenford Jack has been waiting for the return of his boat for over a year now.

Lenford Jack has been waiting for the return of his boat for over a year now.

Jack, 42, reported his boat Genesis stolen from the Kingstown Harbour over a year ago, hours before Barbadian law enforcers intercepted the vessel with two of his fellow nationals onboard and later charged them with having nearly $1 million worth of drugs inside the boat.

The Vincentian fisherman provided Barbados TODAY with a letter from the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force dated February 26, 2015 supporting his claim that he had reported his vessel missing. The letter stated that at 6 a.m. on February 16, 2015, Jack had reported to the Criminal Investigation Department in Kingstown that his fishing vessel had been stolen by unknown persons between 5.30 p.m. on Sunday, February 15 and 5.30 a.m. on Monday, February 16.

“Investigations were carried out; information received that the boat is in the custody of the Coast Guard Service in Barbados,” the correspondence said.

The two accused men were held by Barbadian authorities on the night of February 16 and the drug case of 43-year-old Elvis Matthew Toussaint and 35-year-old William Percival Browne is still pending.

The two men are charged with possession, possession with intent to supply, trafficking and importation of cannabis. They are also accused of entering Barbados by sea, other than at a port of entry and disembarking here without the consent of an immigration officer.

With the boat being held here as evidence, Jack complained that he had been unable to earn a “decent” living or provide for his four children ages 11 to 19.

The father of four has since retained the services of Vincentian attorney-at-law Vynette Frederick who, according to various pieces of correspondence obtained by Barbados TODAY, has pleaded with her country’s Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
to intervene.

However, Jack said he had been told they were unable to assist because the case was in the hands of the Barbadian authorities.

While the case drags on, Jack said he had lost about EC$40,000 (BDS$29,629.63) in income in the year since the boat was stolen. To try to make ends meet, he said, he depended on the “good graces” of other fishermen who allow him to share space aboard their vessels from time to time.

“I just keep working all the while until they [Barbados authorities] make a decision that I could come and get my boat. I have to pay EC$3,500 (BDS$2,592.59) per month for my loan for my home. Sometimes I fall short when I don’t catch enough fish and it back up and when I make a good catch I clear it off,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Asked what message he had for the Barbadians authorities, Jack said: “I would ask them kindly if they could help me that I could get back my boat that I could continue my living and take care of my family and pay my bills. I don’t know how long the procedure might take that I can get it back in my hand or what I have to do. I am willing to cooperate with everybody. Everybody down here [in St Vincent] know me . . . the police and dem, they know that I clean, that is why I can come forward; I have nothing to hold back, nobody don’t have no secrets holding fuh me.”

The veteran fisherman with 25 years experience insisted that he did not know any of the two men who stole his boat.

Meantime, commenting on Jack’s appeal, prominent criminal lawyer and former president of the Barbados Bar Association Andrew Pilgrim, QC, said the boat was not essential to the prosecution of the two Vincentian accused.

“They can prosecute these guys, they can photograph the boat, they can test the boat in any other ways and use that evidence to prosecute them,” said Pilgrim.

The senior counsel seemed to have reserved his strongest criticism for the Royal Barbados Police Force in relation to the gathering of evidence. “Keeping the boat is something that Barbadian police are doing in far too many cases; just holding people’s evidence, and it is not even property owned by the accused and disenfranchising people and taking away their property . . . and it should be illegal and should be prevented,” the outspoken attorney added.

Efforts to reach Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite proved unsuccessful.

10 Responses to Fisherman’s Plea

  1. Ike Turner
    Ike Turner March 30, 2016 at 12:53 am

    That boat will sit and rot away boss those men will sit in prison fot about 5 years before that case id called

  2. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry March 30, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Give the man back his boat!

  3. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith March 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

    When I said many times that the justice system is corrupted. I been called out as an idiot or being soft on crime.
    Here’s a good example where common law should be applied. Those who doesn’t understand the legal system, common law is in every democratic society. But has been taken over by corruption. Common law exist but it’s not mentioned in legal terms or in the justice system. Because that’s how the government and establishment power control you.
    Every case before the court can be judged by common law even murder.
    This is how it works, common sense goes before law. Basically NO law is greater than common sense. Common sense has to be applied in the outcome for any judgement to be justifiable. Every magistrate judge and prosecutor doesn’t have to follow the laws but instead use common sense. But if you are going to control the people you can’t have common law.
    Now this is a non-violent offense and the boat used doesn’t have to be used as evidence. But the politicians wants to be tough on drugs and send a message, at the same time turning a blind eye to the innocent victims of crime..
    Common law no victims no crime, but that can’t work if you want to control the population..

  4. Margaret Lorde
    Margaret Lorde March 30, 2016 at 4:20 am

    The condition of the boat is the next situation he is going to be plagued by. This is really an injustice, it seems the law abiding citizen is always getting a raw deal when it comes to their rights.

  5. Sue Donym March 30, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Madness! The vessel should have been photographed, videoed, measured, thoroughly examined. Trying to tell us that if a tenant was using an apartment illegally, the police would be able to seize the building? What if an offence occurred in a house or a hotel?

    The police have officers that detect computer crimes – but can’t manage a simple record for evidence purposes? Ask any school age child how to record and store or do we need the CCJ to tell Barbados that the matter of Mr Jack’s accumulating losses is a separate case which they should address promptly?

  6. jrsmith March 30, 2016 at 6:20 am

    All you people firing off in the US, my uncle car was stolen, caught were 3 black youths with the car and $50,000 drugs , police explain his car was used in a crime and was crushed..

    Its funny when people in the region ready, they always blast at Barbados, never forget the Marie case, what was said by whom . every body Knows the law, but still go out and commit crime.. you cant blame our police the boat played a major part in transporting the drugs a criminal act. That boat can be held as long as they want to.

    There is 30,000 cars on Barbados roads that is not insured, when the police ready these cars can be impounded, until the proof of secure insurance, because its a crime the car being the major part of that crime…so ..

    • Sue Donym March 30, 2016 at 7:04 am

      @jrsmith, I think you’re way off the mark on this one. The law enforcers would have to establish the owner’s prior knowledge or participation in the crime. If they have evidence of that, then charge him, otherwise they can’t justify depriving him of his means of livelihood.

      Don’t even try using the US as a standard of justice, especially when you mention ‘black youth’. Whose fault is it that Barbados’ judicial system is not efficient? The law should instead be used to ensure that rights are not denied, so NO, the boat and people’s property may not be held ‘as long as they want to’ as this would be a serious breach of justice and reason!

  7. Jack de ripper March 30, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Who says they don’t know he had prior knowledge? Could be satisfied having the two actual traffickers and the boat. Even after collisions people always say their vehicle was stolen. Unfortunately for him the drugs didn’t land so he can’t get his cut and its probably insured but the both was found and involved in a crime so no pay out there either.

    • Sue Donym March 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

      The irony here… If anyone knows how to elude capture it would be Jack de ripper. The other Jack reported the boat stolen more than half a day before seizure effectively ensuring he wouldn’t get a cut. Police might want to talk to you, though

  8. Miche March 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    JUST ANOTHER VIEW;;;;;So because a man call and report that his boat is missing,,hours before it is captured in a crime,,,does that mean that he is legit? Could that report not have been a part of a back up plan….report it stolen .und clear your name,,,so that you cannot be implicated in the crime,if caught,,,,when in fact ,you rented the boat ,,knowing full well,,what was happening…The best of both worlds,,, if the run was a success,,,then you get rental fee…If caught,,, a report was made,,so I can get back the boat,,as I am not involved in the crime…..Crocodile tears as far as I am concerned….Just another view


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