An 18-year-old rising footballer found himself in the limelight for the wrong reason today, when he appeared in the District ‘C’ Magistrates Court on a drug charge.
Keymar Holligan, who also plays for Empire and is a member of the national Under-20 side, pleaded guilty before Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch to having cannabis in his possession on May 31.
Prosecutor Sergeant Rudy Pilgrim said police were on patrol in Eden Lodge when they observed a group of men liming on a block. A strong scent of cannabis was emanating from the area, and this aroused the suspicion of the officers.
As they approached they saw Holligan fidgeting with his pocket. He was searched and 28 ziplock bags were found in his possession.
The accused told police he had found the drugs while on the beach.
Today, Birch was quick to point out the magnitude of Holligan’s error, saying his “foolish mistake” could possibly end any hopes he had of a football career.
The Chief Magistrate told the teary-eyed teenager as he stood in the dock that he could not understand why a young man with such a bright future could behave so recklessly.
“You were in reach of your dream of representing your country. There are 280,000 people in Barbados and only a handful of them are good enough to play for their country . . . . How will you face [Barbados Football Association President] Randy Harris?”
The Chief Magistrate told Holligan he had probably ruined any chance of playing football professionally, as any club would inquire if he had a criminal record.
He said he could not understand why a talented athlete would take up drugs which were not his.
“Our young people would walk past garbage on the side of the road and wouldn’t pick it up . . . they wouldn’t even clean their own rooms, but would spot ganja at the side of the road,” Birch said.
He then ordered the first-time offender to complete 240 hours of community service at the National Sports Council. He was released on $750 bail and returns to court on September 7.