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Gun possession was ‘honest mistake’

Though stating that he has years of experience and training as a boat captain, US Virgin Islands (USVI) native Jarvis Hodge said he did not know he had to declare a firearm when he sails in international waters.

Hodge and his passenger Derryk Callwood are before the Magistrate’s Court for not declaring a gun while they travelled into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) last November.

The weapon was found aboard the vessel ‘Inter Caribbean Ferry Service’ that operates between the BVI and USVI.

While he testified before Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards this week, Hodge said he did not declare the weapon “because the firearm was not coming off the vessel”.

“Your Honour, I made an honest mistake that I wasn’t aware of,” Hodge said.

He told the court that, roughly two minutes after he departed for the BVI on the day in question, he was radioed to turn back for two additional passengers in the USVI.

The passengers were Callwood who is a police officer in the USVI, and Callwood’s girlfriend.

ARMED PASSENGER

Hodge testified that, while he sailed towards Jost Van Dyke in the BVI, Callwood informed him that he was carrying his licensed firearm.

“I said: What! Are you crazy? Bring it up to me, disarm it, and secure it,” Hodge told the court, adding that the weapon was kept in his bag located in the captain’s quarters of the vessel.

The cop then gave Hodge instructions to bring the weapon back into the USVI. Hodge said he agreed.

The boat captain further testified that, when he arrived at Jost Van Dyke in the BVI, no Customs officer asked if he had anything to declare.

He said he then sailed to his next stop, which is the West End Ferry Terminal on Tortola.

Hodge told the court that Customs officers in West End accosted him about the firearm.

He stated that, when he was asked about the weapon, he immediately admitted to having it.

He said a Customs officer told him that he should have declared the gun at Jost Van Dyke.

The boat captain said he then asked to be allowed to declare the weapon in West End, but the officer told him it was ‘too late’.

Hodge told the court that he will never accept another firearm from a passenger, regardless of the circumstances.

Meanwhile, the USVI cop, Callwood, has opted to adopt the testimony of his co-accused, Hodge.

Both men are being represented by attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels.

Magistrate Richards is expected to deliver a verdict in the gun case on October 3.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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7 Comments

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  1. Reply says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

    Based on this report, it appears this was as the defendant stated an innocent mistake. There appears to be no intent to smuggle a gun into the territory.

    It appears the accused made attempts to secure the weapon once told of it, and notified Customs in West End.

    I wonder why Customs refused to allow him to declare the weapon in West End after he told them he had a gun on board and was not able to declare it on St.John because no custom agent was around?

    In this case given the circumstances of no ill intent, imo, the magistrate should just dismiss this case with an admonition. However, it would not surprise me if they are fined despite being forthcoming.

  2. KB says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    This case need to be dismissed!

    • Positive vibes says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      If that had happen the other way around. That person would be in a hostile Puerto Rico jail right now. We are to sift in the BCI.

      • Relax says:

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        This did happen already with someone from tola coming rock and you may not know because it never end up in court for something that was easily fixed.

        Mistakes happen and this could’ve been fixed but they deny him the right even after asking like the article say. Dont be so quick to make comments like that.

  3. okay now says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    bvi usvi friendship day

  4. By us for us says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Strict sea, air and airport surveillance and thorough inspections and a no nonsense 24/7 board and inspect policy for all vessels in territorial waters should become the norm.

    There is a significant million dollar trade occurring under the nose of law enforcement under the guise of “tourist and pleasure boating” in which the trade in weapons and hard drugs are more than likely occurring.

    It is also believed I some circles that law enforcement and customs are either turning a blind eye or is afraid to cause damage to the tourism product.

    The agricultural vessels from the southern Caribbean are no less suspect.

    Though this will no doubt be controversial, stepped up unannounced periodic inspections of suspicious homes and, 6 pm to 6am island wide traffic weapons stop search and seize.

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