DESPITE being freed from detention in the twin-island republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaican cyclist Horace McFarlane has said that he is bitterly disappointed with the way in which he and other Jamaicans who are incarcerated in that country are treated by their government.
McFarlane spent almost one year behind bars, after police raided a premises and found 1.060 grams of cocaine and 300 grams of marijuana. He was arrested and charged for possession of the contraband, along with American Devon Scotland and Trinidadian Afeisha Khan, even though no drugs were found in the room that he was occupying.
However, despite a call from his lawyer, Kwasi Bekoe for the Jamaica Government to come to the aid of its countryman after he was offered bail in July, McFarlane told the Jamaica Observer that he was abandoned by the Jamaica High Commission, which did not pay him a single visit or heed an appeal for diplomats to appear on his behalf.
"They left me to rot in prison. I felt victimised. Jamaica does nothing for me. They don't care. While I was locked up, there were a lot of Jamaicans there but not even once did any official visit any of us. There are people from all nationalities in there and all got visits from their country's representatives. Not one Jamaican was visited by any official. That only gives the Trinidadians reason to treat you any way they please when they see that your country does not care about you," he told the Sunday Observer.
McFarlane was granted bail in the sum of T$75,000, two weeks ago.
He is bitter that he was never given any assistance and had to secure his release on his own, despite not knowing a lot of people in Trinidad.
"They don't care about us. It does not matter about your guilt or innocence. It's like the Jamaican government has condemned you as a criminal before you are even proven guilty," he said.
To compound matters, McFarlane has been ordered to remain in Trinidad until the case resumes on January 8 next year.
"Cases like this take years to end in Trinidad. I have no means of earning and will have to stay here until the case is over. I am still in a prison of sorts," he said.
Even if he was allowed to leave, his Jamaican passport which was seized by the authorities at the time of his arrest, cannot be produced by the Trinidadian authorities.
"They can't find my passport. The police say is the immigration have it and the immigration say is the police have it. I still have to be reporting twice a week," he said.
McFarlane's plight was first reported by the Sunday Observer in May.
At the time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said that it would be checking out the case.
When the ministry was contacted after news broke that McFarlane was offered bail, public relations officer at the ministry Dameon Eunick told the Sunday Observer that ministry officials were planning to visit McFarlane.
However, the former national representative said that that visit never materialised.
McFarlane went to Trinidad & Tobago to participate in a road race when he was arrested.
He won the gold medal at the 2001 Caribbean Road Championships in Aruba last year and finished second in the Blisset Memorial Race. In 2011, he finished third at the National Time Trial Championship in Montego Bay, St James.
He has also competed in the World Championships and has also competed in road races in the Caribbean.