Eight years after his first attempt to get his criminal record expunged, 46-year-old Vernal Brathwaite is still awaiting a final decision from the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Board.
A frustrated Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY he was involved in a minor altercation with another man 14 years ago, and was found guilty and fined by a court but he was not given a prison sentence.
“I would have fought and I got two convictions, paid $750 on both accounts. I have court receipts that would have said . . . these have been paid,” he said.
Back in 2008 Brathwaite applied to the Office of the Attorney General to have the conviction struck from his record.
His application was supported by the required documents, including an independent physiological evaluation, as well as letters from a religious leader and justice of the peace.
“The secretary [of the board] sent me for these things and yes, I went for them to verify the process. The letter from the justice of the peace wasn’t rejected, none of the information that was sent to the CRO board has ever been rejected,” Brathwaite asserted.
Nevertheless, he was advised on December 2, 2011 that the board had rejected his application the previous month and he could reapply after a two-year period, which he did, this time submitting “fresh documentation”.
“I was told that in the next sitting of the board my information would get put to the board and there would be a decision either way, Brathwaite said.
However, an exasperated Brathwaite, who last wrote to the Office of the Attorney General on October 24, 2016 detailing his plight, said he was yet to hear from the board.
“It is really setting me back. There are a lot of things I want to do but I can’t,” he told Barbados TODAY while pointing out that other ex-convicts with similar criminal records to his have had them expunged.
Barbados TODAY contacted the Office of the Attorney General for a comment and one official said the procedure to be followed when applying for expungement was in line with Brathwaite’s experience.