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Court fines Trinidadian man $1500, orders deportation

Court fines Trinidadian man $1500, orders deportation
DESMOND PAVY

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A TRINIDADIAN MAN who is said to be wanted by the authorities at home will be removed from St Vincent and the Grenadines once he has fulfilled his obligations to pay $1500 on Immigration charges, or serve the default imprisonment term. Desmond Pavy was caught by the Coastguard in the waters off Chateaubelair on November 30.

The Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) heard last Friday, December 10, that it was around midnight when personnel from the SVG Coast Guard and the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) received some information which caused them to go on sea patrol. While on the Leeward coast near Chateaubelair, they sighted a vessel heading South.

When the Coastguard made attempts to intercept the vessel, the Captain, Pavy, increased its speed. Following this, the vessel began making circles in the water with the Coastguard on its tail. This lasted for approximately 10 minutes, with warning shots being released to no avail. This situation ended when the Coastguard was able to get close enough to the boat and it stopped.

“The officers observed that there were three men on board, and one of them appeared to have an injury,” Prosecutor Corporal Corlene Samuel read from the prepared facts given to her by the officers involved.

The occupants were questioned concerning their identities, and Pavy answered honestly. He was taken to the Chateaubelair Health Centre and later transferred to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) where he has been warded as a patient since then and underwent surgery on his arm.

When questioned about travel and identification documents, Pavy admitted to the authorities to not having these in his possession.

The vessel was searched after being towed to the Coastguard base and nothing illegal was said to have been found on board.

Pavy admitted to, being a prohibited immigrant, entering the state by boat without a passport and other than a port of entry.

While he was also originally charged with two other offences: being the Master of a vessel knowingly allowing a prohibited immigrant to arrive in such vessel to be landed; as well as knowingly and wilfully allowing himself to be landed as a prohibited immigrant, he maintained innocence on these. They were withdrawn by the prosecution last Friday.

Prosecutor Corlene Samuel informed Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett that from the information reaching her, “Mr Pavy is known in St Vincent and the Grenadines. He has a conviction record in St Vincent. He was convicted for controlled drugs in 2012,” and sentenced to nine years incarceration.

“He escaped custody in 2013, 22nd of April, and he was returned to St Vincent via extradition,” on August 14, 2015. He finished the rest of his nine year sentence by August 2017, but this was followed by another two year sentence for escaping lawful custody.

She had read this from information on her phone received by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), sent by the prisons. However, she said that although she has asked for the conviction record, she was still awaiting it.

The prosecutor did have in her possession a document from Trinidad and Tobago (TT) which shows that “He is currently on bail for drugs.

According to information he is also wanted by the police in Trinidad and Tobago.” Pavy’s name and photograph comes up in news reports out of Trinidad and Tobago concerning an alleged drug bust of Marijuana worth 5.8 million dollars in December 2020. However, the particulars of the charge for which Pavy is on bail did not come out in court last Friday.

The prosecution further noted that Pavy had been charged in 2011 for Immigration offences, a fine was ordered and he was deported.
While the matter was stood down to allow for the prosecution to produce a conviction record it does not seem that it was produced, as defence counsel Grant Connell pointed out to the magistrate when court resumed, “You do not have any previous convictions documented before this honourable court.”

He further mitigated that Pavy, a 50-year-old fisherman and father of 10, has expressed extreme remorse for his actions and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“According to my instructions Mr Pavy was the captain of the vessel when an unmarked vessel approached his- he was not sure what was the nature of the vessel,” the lawyer said, “Circles were made.”

Connell said that it is “interesting” to note that the facts did not say the Coastguard identified themselves or put on a siren.

The lawyer had been told by his client that he “…thought there was some level of piracy. When the vessel got closer he recognised it was the Coastguard, he stopped. The Coastguard identified themselves. He put his hands in the air, the Coastguard asked them to turn off the engine, Mr Pavy went to do that, and he was shot.”

He commented that according to the prosecution, “…this honourable court is to believe that the Captain of a vessel was trying to evade the Coastguard and he was trying to do it in that condition,” as he alleged that it was the Coastguard that shot Pavy.

“He has sustained significant shattering of the bone,” and “loss of all feeling in the left hand,”Connell said.

He submitted that Pavy is in excruciating pain and the injury was still oozing.

The magistrate asked if he is still a patient at the hospital, but the only answer given was that he was supposed to be discharged on that day.

Because it is “crucial” for the injury to be addressed, Connell put forward that a fine may be imposed and the vessel be released to the captain for him to return to Trinidad.

He countered the magistrate’s reminder that the information was that Pavy is wanted, by saying that his client had instructed him that he was not wanted.

“There is a document there that says he is on bail and I very much doubt that the laws of Trinidad and Tobago would differ that much from St Vincent and the Grenadines that if you breach a condition of bail it doesn’t mean that bail won’t still be open to you. The conditions may change…” he posited.

In the face of the court pointing out that Pavy’s previous immigration conviction was an aggravating factor, Connell stated “Aggravating but not detrimental.”

The magistrate also queried whether Pavy was the owner of the vessel, but it was revealed that he was not.

Connell submitted that the Coastguard escorting them on the vessel would be the quickest route back to Trinidad.

However, the prosecutor stated that according to the Coastguard, as soon as the court makes its decision, the information is that the Trinidadian authorities will be coming to these shores to collect Pavy and another occupant of the vessel.

In the end, the court deemed it appropriate to fine Pavy $750 on each count to be paid forthwith, defaulting which there will be a two month prison term. The magistrate also ordered that the defendant be removed from SVG.

It was indicated that any issues beyond this are not for the court to address.

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