Lieutenant David Harewood today became the highest-ranked officer of the Barbados Coast Guard to be court martialed.
He was arraigned on four charges, including communicating with the enemy, when he appeared before a six-member tribunal at St Ann’s Fort this morning.
The senior military officer, who is represented by Vincent Watson, is charged with knowingly communicating with Akem Waithe, alias Ellis, while using a cellular phone belonging to the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) between August 7 and 10, 2018. He is also charged that, on an unknown date in January 2018, he communicated with a well known drug trafficker.
Harewood also faces a charge that on an unknown date in January 2018, being a commissioned officer in the BDF, having knowledge of a threat to the life of a junior member, neglected to inform his superiors of such a threat.
Additionally, he is charged with conducting unauthorised information-gathering operations, conduct unbecoming of a commissioned officer in the BDF.
After the charges were read to him by the Tribunal’s president, Lieutenant Colonel Rohan Johnson of the Jamaica Defence Force, Harewood emphatically replied “Not guilty”.
Lieutenant Jamal Bourne is the prosecutor.
Harewood’s attorney sought on two different occasions to have the matter adjourned, albeit unsuccessfully.
Watson made the first request after Bourne asked for an amendment to be made to the charges prior to them being read.
The amendments related to a spelling error to Waithe’s name, as well as the addition of his alias.
The defence attorney argued that he should have been consulted by the prosecution prior to the start of the case and that he needed some more time so as to “explore options”.
But the president after consulting with Judge Advocate Neville Watson, ruled that the amendments would be allowed as they did not disadvantage the accused.
The defence counsel then submitted that the prosecution had failed to present him with several documents he deemed were crucial to his case.
These included a production order and a credibility expert report.
Once again the president dismissed his request to have the matter adjourned.
Major Junior Browne was the second witness on the stand and he testified that while interviewing Harewood, he revealed that he had been approached by nefarious persons.
Browne said prior to charging Harewood he had received information from several units.
The major said he had asked the accused if he knew about any illegal activities in the Coast Guard or if he had contacted anybody known for drug trafficking, gun trafficking or money laundering.
He said Harewood told him that he had been approached by persons, who claimed they “had people in the BDF and Regional Security System (RSS)”.
He also revealed that the accused said he was aware of a situation where an officer was given $20,000 by a drug trafficker.
Browne said while the accused denied accepting bribes, he said after every conversation with those nefarious characters he reported it to his superiors.
But Browne disputed that notion, saying several of the persons whom Harewood claimed he had spoken to denied knowledge of any such conversations.
Under cross examination from Watson, Browne denied knowing that Harewood had grievances with the BDF, notably the Chief of Staff.
Furthermore, Watson suggested that his client had not been given an opportunity to have legal representation while being interviewed and was forced to make statements.
Browne denied these charges.
Also taking the stand today was retired Major Isabel Blenman, Officer Cadet Chaconia Griffith and Lieutenant Sarah Hippolyte.
The case continues tomorrow at 9 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org