A Grenadian and Vincentian duo are expected to be sentenced tomorrow for trafficking and possession of 79 pounds of cannabis, said to have a street value of $118,000.
Doneal Williams, a 24-year-old Grenadian, and Terrance Harry, a 26-year-old of Rose Hall, were picked up by the police last Thursday, August 6.
Inspector Nolan Dallaway was acting on information received when he headed a party of Rapid Response Unit personnel on duty aboard the Coastguard vessel SVG#02, Captained by Leading Seaman Morris. While patrolling the sea in the area of Cumberland for a vessel from Grenada, they met a black, blue and white boat, with several packages of Marijuana inside. When the Inspector cautioned Williams he said, “Is Union me carry them”, but Harry said nothing.
The two were charged for possession of 35,866g of cannabis and for drug trafficking and appeared at the Serious Offences Court(SOC) on Friday, August 7, where they pleaded guilty.
They were remanded over the weekend and sentencing was intended to be done yesterday.
Mitigation was completed, lawyer Grant Connell for the defendants making a case for his clients, and the Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche offering his submission on sentencing.
The value of the boat itself was set at $12,000 and the engine at $5,000. The prosecution made an application for the boat to be included in the sentence. Their position is that the defendants be given a fine to pay.
This is also the penalty that the defense lawyer for the two hoped the court would entertain.
“I respectfully submit that the value of the controlled substance, 80 pounds, is $20,000, roughly $250 a pound. I know your report there has slightly higher than that…,” Connell told Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, but, referring to medicinal Marijuana, the lawyer said a value has been established “through that.”
He asked that the court use the defense’s submitted value, and that a fine be imposed for the substance which has been grown in the country for years.
Connell also asked that the value of the boat go toward the fine.
He said that “the product” is one that is requested by Caribbean Islands, and this will not stop.
“It will go on until all of us men walk out of this court into the great beyond, including all Prime Ministers, including ours,” and all those who don’t want to deal with “reality”, Connell said.
“…you see the trajectory it’s taking. It’s very unfortunate that a man of their caliber (the defendants) must be chased and dragged before a court and then in the next valley…somebody else making thousands of pounds from the same tree…,” the lawyer commented.
He said generally that it made no sense to fill the jails with persons who have been doing the trade for years, “while others take the cream off the top.”
Other mitigating points include, he noted, that there was a lack of concealment, and no attempts to throw the drug overboard. The two men are fathers, cooperated with the police and are relatively young.
Connell said that Harry was simply getting a ride to Union from Copper Hole bay, while Williams, being a fisherman and in the area, was just picking up the cargo for a friend.
In addressing a possible jail sentence, the counsel contemplated, “Will the clanging of metal doors really affect a man who comes to collect bush from St Vincent?”
The Chief Magistrate, in noting that there are many aspects to consider, adjourned sentencing to Wednesday, August 12.