Canadian Issues Warning After Arrest For ‘Keychain’ In T&T

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Trinidad Guardian:-  A Cana­di­an busi­ness­man has warned his coun­try­men to be care­ful when trav­el­ling to Trinidad af­ter he was ar­rest­ed for pos­ses­sion of three emp­ty bul­let shell cas­ings and kept for a week at the Max­i­mum Se­cu­ri­ty Prison (MSP.)

On Thurs­day, in an in­ter­view with a Cana­di­an-based news out­let, busi­ness­man Bri­an Doubt re­count­ed com­ing to Trinidad on a lay­over flight from Guyana on his way home and be­ing ar­rest­ed for pos­ses­sion of three emp­ty bul­let cas­es, which he was us­ing as key­chains. He said the bul­let cas­es were in­ert and could nev­er be fired.

Doubt, who owns Sergeant Prep­pers Army Sur­plus, did not say when the in­ci­dent took place but told news out­let Kelow­naNow in a 19-minute in­ter­view of his ex­pe­ri­ence. The store Doubt owns sells gen­uine mil­i­tary cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories, and oth­er mil­i­tary mem­o­ra­bil­ia.

Doubt said he came in­to the coun­try and went through Im­mi­gra­tion af­ter get­ting off the air­plane. He said when he tried to go through Im­mi­gra­tion again to sit in the wait­ing area, he was stopped and ques­tioned about his key­chains.

“They were like, what are you do­ing with this? And the same things had been through air­port se­cu­ri­ty in Kelow­na, Mi­a­mi, and Guyana. They told me this is il­le­gal here and we con­sid­er this am­mu­ni­tion. I told them it was not am­mu­ni­tion and they said in Trinidad even an emp­ty shell cas­ing is con­sid­ered am­mu­ni­tion,” Doubt said.

He was charged for pos­ses­sion of am­mu­ni­tion with­out a li­cence and for at­tempt­ing to board an air­craft with am­mu­ni­tion.

Re­count­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence, Doubt said he had to pay the ar­rest­ing of­fi­cers to get him a meal.

“They do the pa­per­work and give me two charges, pos­ses­sion of am­mu­ni­tion with­out a li­cence be­cause I don’t have a li­cence in Trinidad, I have one in Cana­da and at­tempt­ing to board an air­craft with am­mu­ni­tion. I spent the night in jail, I had to pay the of­fi­cers to buy me some­thing to eat, they got me KFC and I gob­bled it in the back of the van with my hand­cuffs on be­cause I didn’t know how long I would have to eat.”

Af­ter he was tak­en to court, Doubt said he re­alised he was in deep­er trou­ble than he ini­tial­ly thought.

“When I was talk­ing to the Air­port Au­thor­i­ty of­fi­cers, they told me I just had to go to court, plead guilty, pay a fine and I would be on my way. When I get in front of the mag­is­trate, she said I didn’t have to en­ter a plea right away for the first charge but the sec­ond charge was in­dictable and I could not plead, that would be sent to the High Court.”

Af­ter a week in the Max­i­mum Se­cu­ri­ty Prison’s re­mand yard and hir­ing a lawyer, Doubt said he was or­dered to pay $5,000 in fines.

But he told KelawnoNow that he had to tell the sto­ry of the oth­er for­eign­ers he met while at MSP.

“I got to tell the sto­ry about these guys, there are Cana­di­ans just lan­guish­ing in there—one guy was there for 14 months, just wait­ing for his sen­tenc­ing. There were Venezue­lan guys there, they had not done any­thing, they were just picked up be­cause they were in the coun­try af­ter flee­ing the tur­moil in Venezuela. There were some Niger­ian guys who were giv­en de­por­ta­tion or­ders, they had sued the State and were put in the pen­i­ten­tiary and they are just in there.”

He said the or­deal put him un­der a “huge fi­nan­cial strain” from which he is still try­ing to re­cov­er.

Doubt used his ex­pe­ri­ence as a cau­tion­ary tale for oth­er Cana­di­ans: “Be care­ful when you trav­el out­side of Cana­da or North Amer­i­ca, to coun­tries where the jus­tice sys­tem is run by un­scrupu­lous peo­ple. Trinidad used to be a nice place and it has gone down­hill over the last sev­er­al years. There have been ar­ti­cles about this, you can get some­one killed in Trinidad for about $1,000, the crime rate is very high there, it is a rough coun­try now—it used to be nice but I wouldn’t con­sid­er vis­it­ing there again.”

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