Workshop capacity building

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Office of The Integrity Commission held a workshop following up previous training on Auditing Asset Declarations from April 23-25 at the National Cricket Stadium.

Participants at the workshop

The participants included representatives of the Commission and Staff of the Integrity Commission, Audit Department, and Financial Intelligence Unit.

The workshop, aimed at continued capacity building on the enhanced methods of auditing asset declarations in accordance with the Integrity Public Life Act, was intended to determine declarants’ true net worth, and the ready identification of red flags.

The Office of the Integrity Commission applauds the UNODC’s contribution to the realisation of the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, and all participants for their involvement for this continued capacity building.

The Commission intends to continue with its scheduled training and development program for 2018.

Kidnapped victim Marlon Garraway returns to Grenada

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has confirmed that Soubise resident, Marlon Garraway who was allegedly held captive for approximately two months in Venezuela while his kidnappers demanded a ransom in exchange for his life is back and is currently living with one of the men he accused of being responsible for his kidnapping.

However, a spokesman for the Drug Squad of the police force said that the law enforcement agency is still to interrogate Garraway on what is believed to be a drug-related kidnapping.

Another police official told THE NEW TODAY that the police are looking for the so-called kidnapped victim to question him but cannot find him and suspect that he “has gone into hiding”.

Garraway’s mother told a local media house that her son who does fishing for a living re-entered Grenada by boat through St. David’s waters last Friday.
She said that his Union Island counterpart and another individual believed to have been in Venezuela for the last 11 months were also dropped off by “the Kidnappers”.

A video was circulated on Facebook in recent days showing Garraway to be alive and well and in a jovial mood since being released.
Garraway, along with another male companion, described as a resident of Union Island, was seen in two separate videos begging two named men to pay monies allegedly owed to the Venezuelan Kidnappers to save them from getting killed.

In the first video, the local fisherman was heard making the statement that he was just “an innocent” person and urged the named men to pay what was allegedly owed to the kidnappers.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a ransom of US $30,000 was being demanded by the kidnappers for the release of the captives.
According to the mother of Garraway, the family was able to raise approximately US $8000 which was allegedly paid to the alleged kidnappers via Western Union.

The mother reportedly said that the money was not sent to Venezuela, as there is no known Western Union office there, but to neighbouring Colombia.

She said that her son told her that they survived while in captivity by catching and eating fish until the day came when the kidnappers told them that they will be sending them home.

The police are said to be suspicious about the kidnapping incident and want to interview Garraway.

Gone but never forgotten!!!

Since this was first written February 2017, nothing has been done on a regular basis.

The Saint George’s cemetery at Cemetery Hill particularly the middle section is badly in need of regular clean up.

The grass is left for too long to reach up to one’s knee or waist most of the time.

When one visits that section of the cemetery, it ends up being a battle with scratching and itching. It is very painful and disappointing for people who want to visit graves of loved ones for whatever reason.

Some people do that on birthdays, anniversaries on mother’s day and father’s day or just to lay flowers in memory of their loved ones.

Visiting, this mother’s day was awful to witness, as people approached and had to turn back. The grass/trees were too tall, too dangerous to get by.

The sad thing is that no one can get into the cemetery because it is too bushy and if and when they do get in, it is with great difficulty.

I have witnessed a gentleman in his mid-sixties, trying to get to a grave, he fell and cut his hand on a piece of glass.

There are many more such stories. Can you imagine that when falling down, he did not even see the glass?

The cemetery is a mess and an eye sore and something has to be done on a regular basis to keep the graves and area looking clean and decent.

The government could use the prisoners or the debushing program. The place can be sprayed a couple weeks after the clean up to keep the grass down for a long period.

When the debushing program is not in operation, the prisoners can be used, at least every month to help keep the grass low.

After all the prisoners do eat free food from the sweat of taxpayers, they also get free medical and shelter.

In closing, let me say that in whatever way the government chooses to handle the situation, the cemetery has to be taken care of on a regular basis.

Meaningful Observer

A world less safe: Caribbean not immune

Events affecting Iran, prompted by the May 8 decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw America from a 2015 nuclear deal, may appear irrelevant to Caribbean countries. They are not. One of the first effects will be a rise in oil prices which has already reached US$77 a barrel and is forecast to rise higher.

The cost of oil is one of the highest factor costs for production in every Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, except Trinidad and Tobago which is an oil and gas producer. Since 2014, Caribbean economies enjoyed a respite from high oil prices that averaged US$100 a barrel over the previous 6 years, pushing up the cost-of-living and aversely affecting the region’s capacity to compete globally, including in tourism.

At an average cost of US$50 a barrel for oil, Caribbean economies did better. Almost all of them showed signs of recovery and economic growth in 2016 and 2017. However, if oil prices continue to increase in the wake of decreased capacity of Iran to sell its oil, Caribbean economies will be adversely affected, particularly as the Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC), especially Saudi Arabia, have decided to cut back their production to force their revenues upwards.

The price of oil is not the only area that will affect the Caribbean, after President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran which was negotiated and signed in 2015 by the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council) plus Germany.

In announcing his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, President Trump also ominously declared: “Any nation that helps Iran
in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States”. Exactly, how “helps” is defined is unclear.

Caribbean countries certainly have no desire to see any country develop or expand its nuclear capacity and nuclear weapons that pose a threat to the existence of all mankind. But, things, such as a ship, which is registered in the Caribbean and sailing under the flag of a Caribbean country, carrying oil from Iran or delivering goods to Iran, could be interpreted as “help”. In such a case, the Caribbean country concerned could attract sanctions. Similarly, bank transactions involving payments to and from the Iranian government or companies in Iran could equally be construed as “help”.

Of course, the Caribbean region is not the only area of the world to which this situation applies. The countries of the European Union are particularly vulnerable to President’s Trump’s announcement. Major European companies could see billions of dollars in commercial deals canceled because of the U.S. decision to re-impose sanctions.

In part, this is why in the run-up to his much-anticipated decision, European leaders rushed to Washington to try to convince him that the JCPOA signed with Iran was very much worth keeping. As Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary wrote in the New York Times, six days before President Trump’s announcement, “I believe that keeping the deal’s constraints on Iran’s nuclear program will also help counter Tehran’s aggressive regional behaviour. I am sure of one thing: every available alternative is worse. The wisest course would be to improve the handcuffs rather than break them”.

From the U.S. standpoint, there are no commercial interests to be protected with Iran. Indeed, trade between the U.S and Iran is far less than trade with Antigua and Barbuda, one of the small Caribbean countries. The U.S. balance of trade surplus with Iran was a mere US$74.5 million in 2017; its surplus with Antigua and Barbuda was US$413.5 million.

Mr Trump remained unconvinced that the Iran agreement was anything but a “bad deal”. This claim is criticised by his Democratic Party opponents, such as Susan Rice, the former National Security Adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration. She wrote that because Trump is “disdainful of any success of his predecessor”, he “has long been determined to destroy this agreement”.

There has also been some influence by the Jewish Organisations in the U.S. which, in the aftermath of President Trump’s announcement, wasted no time in lobbying foreign Embassies to support his stance. For instance, the American Jewish Congress wrote to Ambassadors, saying: “Iran has for too long showed itself to be a bad actor in this process, as demonstrated by the discovery of the secret cache of files by Israel last week”.

President Trump also referred to this Israeli discovery, declaring: “Last week, Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.” However, experts have attested that the Israeli “intelligence documents” related to a time preceding the 2015 agreement.

The day after President Trump’s announcement, Yukiya Amano, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, confirmed that “the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran”.

There is one other concern for Caribbean countries and all other small states. The JCPOA was adopted by a Resolution of the U.N. Security Council. That makes it binding international law and renders the U.S government’s decision to abandon it unilaterally, a violation.

Since small countries rely on respect for international law as the primary source of their defense, the abrogation of it by any country, with impunity, makes them all more vulnerable than they already are.

In the meantime, the prospect for greater conflict and instability in the Middle-East has now escalated. Two days after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, the Israeli military bombed dozens of Iran-linked military facilities in Syria. Israel claimed that the bombing was in response to missile strikes directed at Israeli territory – all of them apparently intercepted – that Israel blamed on Iran.

So, conflict has intensified, and the Iranian government might decide that in the absence of the JCPOA, “the handcuffs are off”, leaving it free to support Syria, and anti-Israeli elements. Regrettably, that prospect is real, making the world a lot less safe today.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States. He is a Senior fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own)

The draconian order!!!

A recent statement made by prominent attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden purportedly on behalf of one of the island’s two female high court judges on citing motorists for contempt of court for tooting their horns too loud outside her court is causing a stir in Grenada.

THE NEW TODAY is particularly concerned about this statement and views it as very draconian in nature especially in a country where the rule of law as opposed to rule of the jungle as practiced on a daily basis.

If the statement is correct, the first question that one has to ask is which law has been violated by a motorist using the Carenage motorway and tooting his/her horn?

If six motorists are using the road at the same time and toot their horns at the same time then which one of them will be hauled before the court and in front of the judge to face contempt proceedings.

And if the judge gets the police to bring in a motorist for violating her order, it would be interested to see under which law the judge would cite the individual for contempt of her court.

THE NEW TODAY is not aware of any existing law that will so empower a judge to take any action against any motorist in the country for tooting their horn on a public road to her annoyance while sitting in a court.

The judge has the right to bring anyone before her on a charge of contempt of court if he/she is within the precinct of the court and engages in a particular type of behaviour.

THE NEW TODAY believes that the judge might be going overboard with such a directive and might be usurping the powers of Parliament which is the only law-making body in the country.

In the absence of any such law on the books giving the judge the power to cite persons for contempt of court by tooting their horns on the Carenage motorway in such a manner as to disturb the proceedings in her court then the legislative branch of government should be approached to enact the necessary legislation.

It would be interesting to see how the Court of Appeal in a sitting presided over by the Chief Justice will rule on such a matter brought before it for adjudication.

The judge may seek the guidance of the Chief Justice since a person illegally penalised might take legal action which can turn out to be costly for the State in compensation at the end of the day.

The State should look at insulating the court building from noise as the more realistic solution to the problem given the location of the court house on a busy roadway and not seek to penalise motorists for tooting their horns which is a standard safety measure.

THE NEW TODAY would also like to address another issue of major concern in the country at the moment – the current composition of the Senate.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) would have officially raised it last week when in a column in this newspaper the party indicated that the Constitution might have been violated with the appointment of Glynis Roberts to serve as an Independent Senator in the Upper House.

The clean sweep of all 15 seats by the ruling New National Party (NNP) in the recent general election left the island without an official Opposition Leader whose duty it is to provide three names to Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade to serve in the Senate as Opposition Senator.

The Constitution provides for three independent Senators representing special interest which traditionally has been Agriculture, Trade Unions and the Business Community.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell did announce publicly that Mrs. Roberts who was appointed by the GG was given the instruments as an Independent Senator.

This means that there are now four instead of the three constitutionally provided for places now occupied by so-called Independent Senators in Parliament.

This newspaper understands that any person who voted in the March 13 general election can take legal action to get a court of law to determine whether the constitution has not been violated by the appointment of Mrs. Roberts as a 4th independent Senator in the Upper House.

It would be interested to hear the opinion of the country’s and Commonwealth recognised leading constitutional expert, Dr. Francis Alexis on the alleged constitutional breach with the appointment of a 4th Independent Senator to serve in the nation’s Parliament.

THE NEW TODAY holds the view that in the national interest, our world renowned Dr. Alexis should bring some clarity and scholarship to the issue and should not wait for some kind of a retainer fee from any affected party to help bring closure to this very important issue.

Dr. Alexis can easily solve the issue by giving another expert opinion and finally laying to rest at no cost to the taxpayers of the country the view held in some quarters that Mrs. Roberts as it currently stands might just be an imposter in the island’s Upper House as a 4th Independent Senator.

Is the NNP trying to circumvent the Constitution by seeking to get another 8th Senator on its side in Parliament with the appointment of the NUF Political Leader who campaigned for the party in the south of the island two months ago in the general election?

Grenada Informer: Is nothing wrong with the CCJ Bill also?

The media holds the repute of being the most influential of the fourth estate in the nation – the Fourth Estate comprises the wide civil society organisations, excluding the political segment. In fact, the media is unofficially the fourth arm of government and thus it deserves respect and support – the other arms constitutionally recognised are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

This designation ascribes the media as having a powerful and important responsibility in the interest of the general public, it being the bastion of truth and democracy, as well as devoted to researches and investigations and to checks and balances, unless in a totalitarian society where its independent role would be frustrated.

Every media outlet has (or, should have) an editorial policy, whether implicitly or explicitly, within the confines of the universally noted responsibility and normal ethics. Particularly, the Editorial of a newspaper must be regarded as the premium column of that newspaper, providing uplifting material in an objective and lucid manner and which can stand the test of wisdom and of time. In fact, all columns must be of worth to the readers.

The Editorial appearing in Vol. 34 No. 19, week ending Friday May 11th 2018 of the Grenada Informer newspaper, entitled “Nothing wrong with the CCJ” provokes many concerns. For the inquiring minds, the editorial should generate many questions and to the thinking minds, it could lead to many conclusions.

If the intention is to educate and motivate the general public on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) then the editorial failed in providing adequate information, or providing supporting evidence on the CCJ’s institutional existence, and it has not even provided any sources or any references for obtaining the pertinent information.

Moreover, there is no direct validation by the editorial in declaring the thinking and approval of its so-called large majority of Grenadians thus, “there are much more benefits to be derived from adopting the CCJ than any disadvantage that they perceive.”

Without presenting specific explanations as to how nothing is wrong with the CCJ, especially in terms of the integrity and effectiveness of its operational status and structural configuration, the editorial attempts to generate some of the merits for having Grenada accede to the CCJ as the final court of appeal and some of the reasons that people feel Grenada should not join.

The editorial affirms the recent Windrush debate as a reason for the CCJ; that is, “to realise real independence as a region … and certainly one of the many ways to do this is to be in charge of every aspect of the dispensation of justice.”

The availability of a Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice-related matters) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has been reported in the mainstream media, and an official for the CCJ, Attorney Ruggles Ferguson, confirmed that there was a draft bill circulated to the Bar Association and other entities and that draft bill is intended to be introduced to Parliament on Tuesday (15 May 2018) for the first reading.

Unfortunately, this procedure is undertaken without the people first given the chance to contribute to the content of the draft bill, or even for them to study a White Paper on the CCJ bill. Is this attitude and approach by the powers-that-be of no significance to the Informer newspaper in having the people making a sound and informed decision on the CCJ?

The editorial also failed to give any assessment on the content and structure of the draft CCJ bill, as well as whatever implications there may be of the bill for the Grenadians, especially the young people, whether immediately or in the future. Instead, it gives reasons for the rejection of the first CCJ bill in the 24 November 2016 constitutional referenda, as it expresses, “The issue of the CCJ as a stand-alone bill will no doubt give it much more legitimacy and the proponents would be better able to apprise citizens of its benefits than when it was part of a chaotic mix wherein many of the other proposals were controversial and/or unfair”.

Is this expression giving the impression that the (new) CCJ bill does not have a number of proposals, topics, sub-issues and concepts and that the bill is not controversial and/or unclear; and thus, is the Informer newspaper satisfied that the bill is already perfect?

This editorial of the Friday, May 11th 2018 Informer seems to be deficient in establishing its heading. Furthermore, the editor owes the general public much accuracy and/or clarification on the statement, “There is nothing at all intrinsically wrong with Grenada emulating the Bahamas, Brazil, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and other states and coming under the jurisdiction of the CCJ”.

What is the motive and message for, or in what sense is, the advice? Indeed, it should be productive for the newspaper to adopt a specially delegated column on the programmes and developments of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), with focus on the principles of CCJ, as part of a public service on Civic Education.

J. K. Roberts

CIBC FirstCaribbean host Inter-primary School Swimming Championship Launch

A local banker has stressed the immense value of swimming as a means of fostering self-confidence and discipline in young people.

2017 Inter-Primary School Swim Meet Winners present at the 2018 launch Event

Country Head of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Nigel Ollivierre made the point during his welcome address at the official launch of the annual CIBC FirstCaribbean Inter-primary School Swimming Championship held recently at CIBC FirstCaribbean’s conference room, Church Street, St. George’s.

Ollivierre said that as a parent of young swimmers, he had seen firsthand the additional skills such as improved levels of self-discipline, self-confidence and time management which swimming had helped them to develop and which has proven invaluable to them.

The CIBC FirstCaribbean Inter-primary Swimming Championship provides the opportunity to identify novice talent at the primary school level, and to nurture that talent as well as to prepare more advanced swimmers for the competitive environment.

The bank has partnered with the Ministries of Sports and Education for just over 10 years to ensure the successful execution of the event each year.
Ollivierre expressed his pleasure at the bank having been a part of the Swimming Championship for over 10 years.

He commended Nataly Sihera, swim coach with the Ministry of Sports on her dedication and enormous input into the annual event.

“The bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility mandate includes Youth & Education, Health & Wellness and Community Relations, and as such the swim meet provides for a perfect partnership and the bank is proud and happy to have been the title sponsors for the event over that period”, he said.

In brief closing remarks, Sihera thanked the bank for its continued support to the Ministry in its overarching goal to spread the sport and life skill, across the tri- island state.

“We are happy to push the boundaries as participating numbers continue to grow. Welcoming swimmers into the novice category is welcoming new blood to the sport, and this can only be for the good”, she remarked.

The Grenada Amateur Swimming Association, Inter-primary School Swim Meet takes place June 7-8.

Dwight Horsford approached to serve as a judge

The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s might soon have to look for a Solicitor-General to replace the office holder, Dwight Horsford.

Dwight Horsford – approached to serve as a judge

According to a well-placed source, Horsford has been approached by the OECS Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira on the possibility of taking up a permanent appointment as a high court judge in the Eastern Caribbean court circuit.

He said that Horsford, with 15 years of practice as an attorney-at-law, has already submitted his CV for perusal by the Judicial & Legal Services Commission (JLSC), the body responsible for hiring judges within the OECS sub-region.

The source told THE NEW TODAY that the Chief Justice has “sounded out” a number of legal luminaries including a battery of local and regional Queen’s Counsel on the impending appointment of Horsford to serve as a judge.

This paper understands that among the persons contacted on the issue were retired OECS high court judge, Justice Monica Joseph, as well as prominent local QC’s, Dr. Francis Alexis and Celia Clyne-Edwards.

According to a source who did not wish to be identified, Chief Justice Pereira has been forced to look for a new set of persons to appoint to serve on the bench due to a current shortage of judges in the OECS court circuit.

He said the situation has almost reached “a crisis” with a number of judges nearing the age of retirement and some leaving their positions to take up more lucrative offers elsewhere.

Last month, Grenada lost one of its three judges with the resignation of Trinidad-born high court judge, Justice Shiraz Aziz to take up a tax free US$12, 000.00 a month position in the Cayman Islands.

Horsford’s expected departure to serve as a high court judge in the OECS could be a “massive blow” for the Mitchell-led government which was only returned to power in March for another 5-years in office.

Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Mitchell might have offered the post of Attorney-General to Horsford when the six month contract given to the current holder of the post, Dr. Lawrence Joseph expires at the end of this month.

However, administration sources have said that Dr. Mitchell agreed to extend by another six months the contract of Dr. Joseph, his long-standing political ally to allow him to take charge of the proceedings leading up to the planned referendum before year-end on abolishing appeals to the Privy Council in London and to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the final appellate court on the island.

Horsford has been a key legal figure for the Mitchell-led government during the 2013-18 term in office with the attorney handling most of the legal matters for the State in court.

He led the arguments for the State-assembled team of lawyers including QC Alexis against the efforts of barrister-at-law, Jimmy Bristol to block the 2016 referendum on seven government-sponsored bills to change the island’s 1974 Constitution.

Horsford also submitted a legal opinion to government which blocked the efforts of Prime Minister Mitchell to award QC status to two attorneys in private practice, Ruggles Ferguson and Derick Sylvester without going through the system put in place by the OECS Chief Justice.

Corruption at Customs

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell has blasted the employees at the Department of Customs accusing some of them of pocketing thousands of taxpayers money for their own personal use.

Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Dr. Mitchell launched a blistering attack on Customs Officers at a meting held with them last week Wednesday at Customs House on the Carenage.

A source who spoke on condition that he was not identified said that the Prime Minister created “panic and fear” in officers at Customs as he informed them of some of their corrupt dealings that resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars in government revenue through stealing.

“He (PM Mitchell) told them that he was picking up talk on the ground and in shops that he visited about all those Customs Officers who were pocketing government money”, said the source.

“A lot of people were scared because of the things the man was saying in the meeting”, he added.

According to the official, Dr. Mitchell pointed that some officers did not want to be transferred from the Customs Department because they saw the place as their “feeding” ground to get rich very quickly.

He announced that there will be a shake-up in Customs soon with some officers being transferred to work elsewhere in the civil service.

The source did not rule out the appointment of a new Comptroller of Customs to take over from Donnan Victor who has been acting in the position since the holder of the office, Carl Felix was transferred almost two years ago to take charge of the Grenada Ports Authority.

He stated that one of the Deputy Comptrollers of Customs with good connections to the ruling New National Party (NNP) might be the next person to become Comptroller of Customs.

The source stated that PM Mitchell is fully aware that there is mas corruption taking place within the Customs Department and his utterances were only the tip of the iceberg.

He spoke of allegations of a massive corruption network involving some officers in the Department and a select bunch of brokers and agents.

“Right now, the Customs has never been so corrupt as it has ever been in years. A broker will do the paper work for someone importing an item into the country and because the value is high the broker will inform the importer that he can get it lowered for him.

“If the importer agrees then the broker will speak to a particular Custom Officer who will then tell him how much he is prepared to lower it down and at what price. So, the Broker tells the importer the new price and at what cost to him and the Custom Officer”, he said.

“This is happening on a regular basis at Customs with government losing thousands of dollars each day because of the rampant corruption taking place in the place”, he added.

In recent years, the Mitchell-led government has been hiring mainly the sons and daughters of NNP supporters to fill vacancies and new positions within the Customs Department.

St. John man slapped with Attempted Non-Capital Murder Charge

A 23-year-old Shopkeeper from River Lane, Gouyave, St. John, is facing two indictable gun-related charges and another indictable charge of ‘Attempted Non-Capital Murder,’ in connection to a shooting incident on April 21, which left one man without a kidney.

Jonathan Richards – charged with attempted non-capital murder

THE NEW TODAY understands that the victim, Edwin Cheddick, went into the shop of Jonathan Richards to allegedly purchase a marijuana joint and on his way out of the shop accidentally bumped into another man who was engaged in gambling.

The individual who was bumped into went into the shop and returned with the shopkeeper who was armed with a gun.

According to reports, the man who was injured started to back away from the shop and as he turned to run away several shots were fired at him.

Approximately 6 shots were fired, with only one hitting Cheddick in his lower back, passing straight through him.

A well placed source said the injured man who was recently discharged from the St. George’s General Hospital after several days of treatment, lost one of his kidneys as a result of the incident.

Three days after the near fatal incident on April 24, the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) issued a Wanted Man bulletin for Richards for questioning for the offense of Dangerous Harm.

However, last week Thursday, approximately 16 days after the Wanted Man bulletin was issued, Richards turned himself in to the Gouyave Police Station, where he was subsequently slapped with charges of Attempted Non-Capital Murder, and for being in ‘Possession of a Fire Arm and Possession of 6 rounds of Ammunition, without user’s licenses.

Clad in a purple long sleeve shirt and black long pants, the 23-year-old suspect, appeared Monday before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court, represented by Attorney-at-law, Andre Thomas of the law firm of Franco Chambers & Co.

The lawyer requested bail for his client but the Police Prosecution team strongly objected based on the seriousness of the offences, and the fact pointing that a Wanted Man bulletin had to be issued through the media to locate Richards, who was allegedly attempting to evade police investigators.

Additionally, the court was told that the firearm in question is still at large and that the suspect has 19 previous convictions including Robbery with Violence and Grievous Harm dating back to March and June 2013, as well as a conviction for Possession of Firearm, which dates back to March 2017.

The Police Prosecution informed the court that the suspect has at least 4 other matters pending before the Victoria and Gouyave Magistrate’s Courts, for which, bench warrants had to be issued for his arrest.

Attorney Thomas denied the allegation and contended that his client has no other matters pending before any court.

According to the lawyer, while his client had a long list of convictions, the majority of them were for trivial offences for which Richards has already suffered the consequences.

He also acknowledged the seriousness of the past and present alleged offences while noting that the well known adage about “presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”

In addition, Attorney Thomas pointed to the age of his client, saying that bail should not be used as a punishment but to ensure that accused persons appear in court.

In addressing his client’s alleged attempt to evade the law, the lawyer indicated that Richards was “not apprehended by police but voluntarily walked into the station,” after learning that he was a wanted man.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the suspect was accompanied by his mother when he turned himself into the Gouyave Police Station last week Thursday.

After hearing arguments put forward by both sides, the Chief Magistrate took a decision to deny bail at this stage and remanded the 23-year-old suspect to the Richmond Hill Prison.

Richards will make his second court appearance at the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court on June 1.