According to St Lucian drug trafficker Jack George his family has been struggling financially since the mother of his three children died back in 2012. Therefore, when he got the opportunity to make some money he “took it”.
“I needed the cash to deal with my children,” George, a fisherman, from Pierrot, Vieux Fort said as he addressed Justice Randall Worrell this afternoon in the No. 2 Supreme Court.
“I am very sorry for the incident . . . I didn’t mean to disrespect anybody . . . have leniency on us,” George said. His co-accused, Tyrone Gibson-Belhomme, also a fisherman, from Clarke’s Street, Vieux Fort declined to say anything in his defence.
In mitigating on their behalf attorney-at-law George Vincent requested leniency. He said his clients had not only cooperated with police but had also pleaded guilty at the first opportune time and had not wasted judicial time. “There was no violence involved, no use of firearm,” he also submitted. He said the convicted men were not the masterminds behind the act and only played “secondary roles” as he requested that their sentence be “short and at the lower end”.
However, Crown Counsel Oliver Thomas told the court that a ten-year sentence would be an appropriate starting point in the case of George as he was “the captain of the boat and so that takes certain expertise”. In the case of Belhomme, a starting sentence of below ten years should be imposed, as “he was just the muscle” the prosecutor added saying that the necessary credits should also be given.
The two, 39-year-old George and 30-year-old Belhomme who pleaded guilty in June this year to importation, trafficking and possession of 238.3 kilogrammes of cannabis, will return before Justice Worrell on December 6 for sentencing.
In June, Thomas told the court that Coast Guard officials were conducting surveillance about ten nautical miles off Batts Rock, St Michael on August 30, 2018 when they received information and began heading in the direction of Heron Bay, St James. On the way they spotted a white vessel registration number J6-1464 bearing the name Power Struggle about 0.2 nautical miles off Holetown. Three men were spotted on board the vessel, which began making evasive manoeuvres on seeing the Coast Guard vessel.
The boat was later intercepted about 15 nautical miles off Heron Bay and two crewmembers were removed. George identified himself as the captain while Belhomme said he was a crewman. A St Peter man was the third person on board.
The bags containing the cannabis along with the detainees were taken to the Coast Guard base and subsequently to the Oistins Police Station.