Businessman DaCosta Alexander Brathwaite was granted $220,000 bail when he appeared in a Bridgetown court today on two drug-related offences. However his co-accused, Jamaican George Washington Williams was remanded.
Brathwaite, 53, the managing director on D’s Mega Styles shoe store, of No. 2 Chelston Gardens, St Michael, secured his freedom when two sureties posted his bail. Williams, 50, a fisherman from Portmore, Jamaica will spend the next 28 days at Dodds.
The two are accused of committing preparatory acts for the purpose of trafficking cannabis as well as conspiring with another person to traffic the illegal substance on December 20. The drugs in question weighed 49 kilogrammes and had a $440,000 estimated street value.
Prosecutor Station Sergeant Carrison Henry objected to bail for both accused after they were not required to plead to the indictable charges before Magistrate Douglas Frederick. Henry pointed to the seriousness of the charges, the quantum of the drugs involved as well as the fact that Williams was a non-national who arrived in the island on December 19 for vacation. He feared that if granted bail there was the likelihood that similar offences would be committed.
However, Michael Lashley, Q.C. who is representing Brathwaite, along with attorneys-at-law Romain Marshall and Dayna Taylor-Lavine, countered the objections saying that the businessman was “an excellent” candidate for bail. Lashley noted that his client was not known to the court and was also the owner of three stores and recently opened another at Sheraton Mall and had 21 employees dependent on him along with two children.
“He has an impeccable record, is a successful businessman and has 21 employees who will go on the breadline if he is remanded.
“He is the chief, cook and bottle washer of that business. He is an excellent candidate for bail . . . and has made outstanding contributions to society . . . and is of impeccable character,” said Lashley who also submitted that his client was previously successful in insurance.
Attorney-at-law Harry Husbands represented Williams and also told the court that his client was a good candidate for bail as he was not known to the courts here or in Kingston and was a licensed fisherman.
The lawyer submitted that if the court was minded a suitable surety could be found to post bail and his client was willing to submit to any conditions.
However, the magistrate said it was difficult to grant the Jamaican bail as he had “so much stamped” against him. Frederick said Williams was only here on vacation and had no significant ties in the country.
“You are only passing through although you have been here several times. You are in an honourable profession as a fisherman but the concern is that you may be a flight risk . . . as you know the sea well, you are licensed not even an ordinary fisherman.”
In Brathwaite’s case the magistrate said he was in a different situation as 21 people were dependent on him for their livelihoods.
“If you are remanded it means these people will suffer especially in these economic times and that will be difficult. You are not a flight risk as you have roots here and huge investments in the form of several businesses,” Frederick said before he adjourned the case to January 24, 2019.