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Police telling blatant lies – Keith Howard

Police telling blatant lies – Keith Howard

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When a country’s security forces cannot be trusted, that is a big problem.{{more}}

That is the view of businessman Keith Howard, who told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the police lied when they stated in a report that a search warrant had been shown and read to his brother Alfonzo Howard during a search of their business last month.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, at a press conference yesterday, read from a report from Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, which said that on April 23, at about 11:40 a.m., the police received information that a drug transaction was about to take place at Howard’s Marine at Villa Flat.

“… a search warrant was obtained in the name of Keith Howard of Howard’s Marine. Subsequently, at 11:55 a.m. a party of personnel from narcotics section proceeded to Howard’s Marine,” the Prime Minister said.

According to the report, when the police entered the compound, they met Alfonzo Howard, the brother of Keith Howard.

“… the police officers identified themselves and made enquiries as to the whereabouts of Mr Keith Howard. Mr Alfonzo Howard then made a telephone call to Mr Keith Howard and the officer in charge of the search party spoke with him and informed him of their duty. Mr. Keith Howard granted permission for the search to be conducted. Mr Alfonzo Howard was informed of the warrant, which was read and shown to him. He was also informed of the nature of the search which had nothing to do with Howard’s Marine directly,” the report, dated May 2, said.

“There was never a warrant read to my brother. Never. He never read it to me either. He had me on the phone and he didn’t read it to me and tell me well he have a warrant. He told me he come to search, so I tell him okay, go ahead and search. I tell my brother let him search. I don’t have a problem with that. I said that. But he never said he had a warrant. Never read a warrant to me and he never show my brother a warrant,” Keith Howard said.

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke with Alfonzo, who also said that no warrant had been shown or read to him.

“He never read nothing! I don’t really know the procedure of warrant. They come here more than once and they never read a warrant to me.”

Alfonzo said the search party was made up of two men and one woman dressed in plain clothes. He said the officer who seemed to be in charge of the search party “flicked out something from his wallet like an ID, but he did not show me. I did not see what was on the ID card.”

Keith, who has operated Howard’s Marine for over 30 years, told SEARCHLIGHT that a blatant lie has been told.

“When you can’t trust the police and they tell lies like that, that’s a big problem in the country. If people have to tell a blatant lie like that, that is a big problem. It’s a chronic problem that the country will face when you can’t trust your security forces. Tell them I say if I can’t trust the security forces, it’s a serious problem in the country. They telling blatant lies,” he said.

Howard said if a warrant had been read to his brother, he would have asked him to see who had signed it, whether it is a magistrate or a justice of the peace.

While reiterating that the search had nothing to do with Keith Howard of Howard’s Marine, the Prime Minister, at yesterday’s press conference said on previous occasions, vessels had been intercepted with drugs after departing the compound of Howard’s Marine.

Gonsalves, reading from the report, said that on September 12, 1995 and on February 22, 2010, vessels carrying 140 lbs and 311 lbs respectively of compressed marijuana were intercepted. He said neither case resulted in a conviction, owing to lack of evidence.

“This had nothing to do with Mr Howard of Howard’s Marine, who is a man stuffed with integrity. He is a good businessman. But it doesn’t mean that if you are a good businessman and you follow all the laws of the land, that the police can’t come on your compound,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the search warrant in question was attached to the report from the Commissioner, as were statements from Keith and Alfonzo Howard.

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