Bequia mother claims  unemployment, high electricity bill drove her to crime
From the Courts
January 12, 2021
Bequia mother claims unemployment, high electricity bill drove her to crime

After being caught with marijuana in a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) box, a Bequia mother gave unemployment and a high electricity bill as the reasons she ventured into criminal activity.

Twenty-six-year-old Kendra Lewis of Friendship, Bequia, was caught on January 9, at Port Elizabeth Bequia, in possession of 193g of cannabis.

The police were acting on information when they travelled to the wharf. After arriving on the scene, one of the officers noticed Lewis, and kept her under observation. The officer saw the young woman board the Bequia Express 2, and then disembark with a green and black handbag in her possession. The police apprehended Lewis, and took her back to the police station where they searched her person and her bag. A KFC box containing two Ziploc bags was uncovered. One of the bags contained marijuana, while the other was revealed to have 34 ‘bombs’ of the drug.

“My light is 500($EC), and I’m unemployed” she told the officer.

At the Serious Offences Court (SOC) yesterday, January 11, Lewis explained to Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne that she had worked until March/April “2019”, when she was laid off after the pandemic took hold. She said that she ended up depending on the stimulus package until December.

“I’m a good person, I’ve never been in trouble with the law before,” the young woman mitigated. She said that she likes to work but she has applied to several places and hasn’t gotten through.
“As stated my electricity bill is at EC$500, I have a two-year-old son that needs to maintain, he should be going to pre-school this year September, hopefully,” Lewis also informed.

The magistrate said that she would take into consideration all that the defendant said.

“So far two things work in your favour: one, that you pled guilty and that you didn’t waste the court’s time,” which automatically gives her the benefit of her sentence being reduced by one third, Browne listed.

Additionally, she did not have a criminal record before this offence.

Therefore, the court was not going to consider a spell in prison.

Browne reminded Lewis that the pandemic did not hit until 2020, but acknowledged that it has been difficult. “But at the same we have to mitigate our own circumstances”, and budget, she stated.

The magistrate said that raising a child isn’t a one person job, and that there is supposed to be another person helping with that, informing Lewis that there are certain institutions in place.

Following this Browne stood down the matter, and dealt with other cases in the interim.

When the matter was called again, Browne noted that she would be following the sentencing guidelines set out by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC). The magistrate considered that an aggravating factor of the offence was the attempt to conceal the drug inside of a KFC box. On the other hand, the offender had a previously clean record, and a dependent child.

The drug was estimated at a value of $350, and a fine usually relates to this value. In Lewis’ case, the discount awarded to her for admitting her guilt at the earliest convenience meant that the amount she would pay would be $230.

The order for payment was immediate, so that if Lewis did not pay this sum, she would have had to spend two weeks in prison.

The young woman seemed to be assisted by another woman, and was granted her freedom.