Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2023. 8:14 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: 14 Jamaican nationals – eight men, three women, and three minors – are headed back “to the yard” after the adults’ charges of willfully supplying false declarations to an Immigration officer were dropped on Friday.
The group, respectively identified as Horace Antonio Boyd, 32; Romain Dwayne McDonald, 34; Michale Rohan McGowan, 39; Fabian Anthony Wellington, 36; Kevin Ian Carter Sr., and his son, Kevin Ian Carter Jr., 18; Wayne Dexkesha Charles, 39; and Orvid Thompson, 37; Shocoye Kallilin McKnight, 30, accompanied by her two minor children a boy, 14, and a girl, six; Jiaon Sheilemal Wilson, 34, accompanied by a minor child, three; and 22-year-old, Brittany Kerina Adams, all pleaded not guilty when read their charges in court.
The group was offered bail and the case adjourned for a speedy trial on November 30, but the prosecutor decided not to proceed after indicating the group was willing to return home.
With no further evidence, the Senior Magistrate presiding dismissed the charges and released the group to Police, who took them to the Airport where the mothers were reunited with their children.
The group claimed to have arrived at the airport on November 10 around 4 p.m. but were found in San Pedro Village, Corozal District, two miles from the northern border, traveling in the back of a pick-up truck.
The driver of the truck fled, leaving the group to fend for themselves with authorities.
Their passports were found to be valid but they were carrying U.S. currency between $500 and $3,000 each and round trip plane tickets indicating departure date between November 17 and 24 and claimed to be staying at various Belizean hotels – Tropical Paradise, Easy Inn, Red Hut Inn, Sunset Hotel and even the Radisson Hotel – but authorities suspected they were using Belize to get to Mexico and ultimately the United States.
Fabian Wellington, one of the detainees, insisted he was here legally and instead of seeing the Belize Zoo and other attractions, he has been from one jail to another, and claimed not to know any of the others although he said they are now friends bound by their experience here.
Attorney Norman Rodriguez conceded that his clients failed to live up to their agreement in coming here, but insisted, “Regardless of what, we believe that I mean, as visitors, but more as Caricom residents, they are our brothers and sisters.”
The Government has previously spoken about finding means to ensure Belize is not used as a transient point for nationals seeking to get to America.
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