From the Courts
December 29, 2017
Magistrate asks Bajan man if Nine Mornings celebrations attracted him to SVG

Magistrate Bertie Pompey is wondering what has been attracting a wave of persons from neighbouring islands to enter the country illegally.

As he presided over a matter last Friday, in which Jebarie Atkins, a 28-year-old resident of Christ Church, Barbados, entered the country illegally, Pompey enquired: “What is attracting y’all around this time? Is it the Nine Mornings?”

Atkins entered St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) on December 18 without informing the relevant authorities. When he appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on December 22, he was hit with three charges, including entering the state by boat and disembarking without the consent of a customs officer; entering the state other than at a port of entry; and thirdly, doing so without a passport.

The Barbadian man pleaded guilty to all three offences, although according to him, the circumstances under which he entered the state were unavoidable.

Atkins was discovered at the Grenadines Wharf on December 18, on his way to Bequia, by PC 425 John, who requested a search of his person. Nothing illegal was found during the search, but in conversation, the officer observed that Atkins was a Barbadian.

Although Atkins said he had entered the state by plane, he could not answer questions directed to him about his passport. Taken to the police station and detained, the Bajan man gave his explanation. He claimed that he was out at sea when his boat broke down. He said an individual offered to help him, but he was told both he and the boat could not be saved, so he decided to follow the person.

In mitigation before the court, defence lawyer Grant Connell intoned that the 28-year-old was the father of four children, who were “back home still awaiting their Christmas presents.”

He asked that the court impose a fine and that the fine was “somewhat reflective of the season,” also stating that “a father’s face on a Christmas Day makes a big difference.”

He gave the assurance that Atkins would use the proper means of entry next time, saying, “I am certain on the next occasion he would take the opportunity to explore our brand new international airport.”

It was at this time that Pompey enquired whether the attraction was Nine Mornings, to which Connell replied, “Your Honour, maybe.”

The defendant was fined $800 for each charge, which was demanded to be paid forthwith or he will face incarceration for four months, the magistrate saying that he was being very lenient because of the Christmas season. A removal order was also made.(KR)