Two fined $30,000 each for ganja

Two Barbadian men who pleaded guilty to separate cannabis charges have nine months to pay the District ‘C’ Magistrates’ Court $30,000 each if they want to avoid prison time.

One of the men, 51-year-old businessman Winfield St Auban Lowe, lives in the United States, while the other is 31-year-old Tito Mardonna O’Neil Barrow of Block 1G, Bottom Close, Wildely, St Michael.

They both pleaded guilty to possession, possession with intent to supply, trafficking and importation of cannabis.

Border control officers found 25 pounds of the drug in Lowe’s luggage when he arrived here last Monday from New York.

His attorney Lesley Cargill Straker admitted to Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch her client decided “to take this risk” because his business here, which he
maintains along with a home, had been in trouble.

“At his age he has never been before the court [but] based on circumstances he decided to take this risk,” Cargill Straker said.

She urged the Chief Magistrate to be lenient and impose a fine on her client instead of a custodial sentence.

“To say I am disappointed is to drop short because as a businessman you should know not what to do,” Chief Magistrate Birch told Lowe.

Cargill Straker also represented Barrow, who was found with 26.5 pounds of the drug in 38 packages wrapped in white t-shirts in his luggage.

The attorney said Barrow also “felt like he had no choice”.

She explained that Barrow had been selling clothes since he was laid off from his substantive job and “that is how the opportunity arose”.

The lawyer further explained that due to several circumstances “he felt like he had no choice and made the decision out of desperation”.

However, Birch told Barrow: “You know this is wrong yet you did it . . . . Had it not been intercepted you would have been responsible for an influx of illegal narcotics on our streets.”

He imposed $15,000 fines on each man for the possession charge, to be paid in nine months or an alternative of two years in prison.

They were convicted, reprimand and discharged on the possession with intent to supply charge and reprimanded and discharged on the trafficking charge.

For importing the illicit substance Barrow and Lowe were each slapped with an additional $15,000 fine also to be paid in nine months, or two years in prison to run concurrently.

They are to return to court by the end of August next year to show receipts. Lowe’s travel documents have been seized.

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