Unlucky American robbed at sea, locked up on land
An American national may not have the nicest news about Guyana to report to his countrymen when he gets back to the United States after being wrongfully detained by the police for entering the country illegally.
Travis Kent appeared before Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was charged for illegal entry on May 13. To the charge, the US citizen pleaded guilty. But after the facts of the matter slowly surfaced in the court, it was understood that charges were wrongfully laid and the man could not be guilty of the offence since his information indicated that he was charged following a dilemma at sea which resulted in him ending up in Guyana.
The court prosecutor claimed that Kent who resides in Arizona, USA, departed his homeland through Florida by way of his yacht on February 28, 2011. The court heard that on May 13 Kent ended up in Guyana at the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard wharf which is not a Port of Entry.
The prosecutor further said that Kent did not present a passport to the GDF officials and the police were thus summoned. Kent was arrested and charged with the offence.
Attorney-at-law George Thomas stood in representation of the US national and gave a story that filled in gaps that were apparent in the police information.
Thomas said that Kent indeed left his homeland through Florida with the use of his yacht. However, during his voyage, the man started to experience difficulty with his boat and after a while the vessel started to drift in the open water.
Kent then found himself in the mouth of the Demerara River where he saw two men from whom he solicited assistance. But instead of helping the drifting captain, the men robbed the American and relieved him of his valuables. They then beat him up and caused injury to the man. Kent had lacerations on his face and black and blue marks around his eyes.
The lawyer then said that after being robbed, Kent found himself drifting again until he ended up at the GDF wharf where he reported the robbery to sea ranks.
But before counsel could finish his submission, the court interjected that a guilty plea could not be recorded since there was a mitigating factor that summed up the defendant’s purpose for being in the country.
The police were further questioned as to whether the defendant’s claim about being robbed was checked out, but no feasible explanation could be given to the court. No statements based on the defendant’s claim was in the police file neither was the statement of the investigating officer.
The court however sent the matter to Court Two before Magistrate Sueanna Lovell, but after Prosecutor Neville Jeffers examined the file, he sought advice from superiors and requested that the matter against the American be withdrawn.
The police said that all the documents pertaining to Kent and his boat were authentic and it was eventually determined that the man’s story was true.
Kent will now be able to return to his homeland after drifting for days, getting robbed and then facing Guyanese court for illegal entry. Kent will receive assistance in repairing his vessel to get back to the US.
This publication understands that Kent was reportedly sailing to find a place where he could reside after retiring. The man said that next year he may return to the country that nearly imprisoned him.