Hondurans found on vessel in Jamaica to be sent home


Hondurans found on vessel in Jamaica to be sent home

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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FIVE Hondurans, who were caught on a vessel in Jamaica, are to be sent home.
A removal order was made last Friday when they appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

The men: Michol Alexander Salomon; Jelson Jomas Sambala; Arles Nolverto Nunes-Martin; Allin Decosta Jefford Bodden; and Sergio Rene Almendarez were each fined $5,000 or 30 days in prison for entering the island without a leave to land.

But they were not the only men fined.

The captain of the vessel that they were caught on, in the vicinity of Port Royal Street, was also charged.

Gary Hernandez Reeves was charged with aiding and abetting illegal entry. He, too, was fined $5,000 or 30 days in prison.

Prior to the men's guilty pleas, the court was told that on January 14, the vessel containing 16 people was seen docked at 1 Port Royal Street.

The court was also told that when the police enquired about the occupants on the vessel, Reeves said they were members of his crew.

When Salomon, Sambala, Nunes-Martin, Bodden, and Almendarez were unable to provide travel documents, they were taken into custody.

Attorney-at-law representing Reeves, Christian Tavares-Finson, told the court that he was not seeking an extradition order for his client due to the fact that he has a contractual arrangement with B and D Trawling Limited.

During mitigation, Tavares-Finson argued that his client's intention was to hand over the men he had rescued, after he found them on rafts in the vicinity of Pedro Bank.

“Why did he say guilty?” Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks asked Tavares-Finson.

The police told the court that Reeves produced a crew list and said that the men were part of his crew.

Tavares-Finson explained to Crooks that his client was asked to prepare a list of the occupants on the vessel, and not a crew list.

Tavares-Finson told the court he is hoping that his client's contract with the fishing and seafood processing and marketing company, which will end in a couple of months, will not be affected by the court case.

Prior to sentencing, attorney-at law Walter G Melbourne asked the court to be lenient with Salomon, Sambala, Nunes-Martin, Bodden, and Almendarez, given the fact that they had pleaded guilty on the first opportunity.

Melbourne also told the court that based on the instructions he had received, the men were found on rafts in the vicinity of Pedro Bank.

Crooks then raised questions about the execution of the removal order.

“Once the removal order is made, how will it be done?” the judge asked.

A police officer assigned to the matter told the court that the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency would have to verify that the men are being truthful about their nationality.

A date for their removal from the island has not yet been set.

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