A Trinidadian man who was charged and sentenced for entering the territory illegally claimed he broke the law to search for his missing kin.
Charged with ‘landing in the territory without the leave of an Immigration officer’ is 32-year-old construction worker, Trevon Cumberbatch.
Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin sentenced him to two months at Her Majesty’s Prison plus $1,000 fine when he pleaded guilty to the offence on Wednesday.
If he fails to pay the fine by July 17, he will spend two additional months at the adult penitentiary.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that Cumberbatch was caught at a residence in Georges Northside on Tortola when members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force executed a search warrant for an unrelated matter.
He was found hiding behind a wall on the property and was interviewed.
During his conversation with the authorities, he reportedly said: “I overstayed, I don’t have my passport.”
Later in a police interview, he said: “I came here on a boat.”
He is said to have arrived in the BVI on a date unknown between January 1 to July 11, 2020.
Searching for my kin
Responding to question on why Cumberbatch did not fly into the territory legally, his attorney Stephen Daniels said he did not know. However, the defence attorney said his client informed him that he came to the territory about four months ago in search of his brother, Morris Cumberbatch, who had been missing since 2018.
Addressing the court, Cumberbatch said he came to the territory legally at first. But when the time he was allowed to stay ended, the Trinidadian said his application for an extension was unsuccessful.
Not wanting to return home, he flew to St Maarten and returned illegally on a boat, he said.