Freed prisoner calls for compensation from government

An angry Springs resident is calling on the State to compensate him for the nearly three years spent on Remand at the Richmond Hill prison on a rape charge that the high court did not find him guilty of committing.

Cassius Batson – wants to get his compensation package

Cassius Batson was freed on December 14, 2016 on four counts of rape and always maintained his innocence.

Attorney-at-Law George Prime, who got the nine-member jury panel to return a unanimous verdict of not guilty, represented him.

In a telephone interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper last week Batson made a plea for government to compensate him for the time spent behind bars.

He said he contacted government officials about giving him a start to get back his life but has received no positive feedback.

“They put me back out on the street with no money. I wasn’t earning at the time so therefore, I have no money to pay for rent. I have lost everything while serving time in prison – my children are unattended and the government turned a blind eye to my situation”, said Batson who did barbering before he was locked up in prison.

“I was suffering (in prison). I was locked down in a cage. I went through all that humiliation and came out with nothing in my hand…only in Grenada this can happen,” he added.

The former inmate contrasted his treatment with that given to the state to some of the former 17 revolutionary figures who were released after serving lengthy prison sentences for the 1983 execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and three Cabinet colleagues in October 1983 at Fort George.

Batson alleged that “When the revolutionaries came out of prison, the government gave them things secretly. They are the only prisoners government provided jobs for – they have land, they have vehicle – they gave them $4000 to start off with and they were guilty.

“I have been cleared of my charges; found not guilty and I have not been compensated for the time I spent on remand at Her Majesty’s prison.

Former army majors Leon “Bogo” Cornwall and Christopher Stroude were brought back to work at the prison as Councilors, while John “Chaulkie” Ventour, Ewart “Headache” Layne and Liam James got involved in the commercialisation of a state-owned Estate.

According to Batson, it is situations like these that are forced on people like him that help to encourage crime in the country.

He said all it now takes is “a spark of fire” to get things out of control.

“I know it sounds simple but I am keeping my cool, I don’t want it to reach to that. They did injustice to me and my children suffered the consequences.

“What they want me to do – break people house and rob them? They want me to walk into supermarkets and start shooting up the place? I would sacrifice myself to get my justice, I need my justice …I have to be compensated.

Batson said all he is asking for from the authorities is a start to get his life back on track and pay what is due to his lawyer.

“I am not asking for the fish – give me a line and a hook and I will catch my own fish. I asked for a Booth on the (Bus) Terminal and I have been given the run around, saying that there are procedures to follow.

“I have to pay my lawyer $10,000. The first week after I was released he is on my back for his money. I need to pay the lawyer but I can only do that if government compensates me.

The disgruntled Springs resident remarked that he has to eat food to survive but it is difficult for him to find the means as people often discriminate against a person who served time in prison.

“I could hear the whispers of people – my character was tarnished and the government needs to do what they have to do fast…make me feel satisfied,” Batson said.

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