Six Guyanese charged over arms cache in St Lucia’s waters

Six Guyanese who were arrested in St. Lucian waters last Saturday night after weapons and drugs were found in the Guyanese cargo vessel they were on, were last evening slapped with ten charges each.

Trevor Constantine, the public relations officer of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) told Stabroek News from the island that a record sixty charges will be laid against the men.

The six men were identified as Calton Rushel Sam, 29; Hardatt Sookram, 45; Tandu Satesh Ramkissoon, 18; Selwyn St  Clair France, 40; Narine Cheecharran, 28; Noel Persaud, 59.

The PRO said they were charged with

1.Possession of controlled drugs to wit: Cocaine

2.Possession of controlled drugs to wit:Cannabis

3.Possession with intent to supply cocaine

4.Possession with intent to supply cannabis

5.Importation of cocaine

6.Importation of cannabis

7.Possession of one 12-gauge shotgun

8.Possession of 15 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition

9.Possession of 35 rounds of 9mm firearm

10.Possession of 5 live Grenades

The six men are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday the 4th of October, 2011.

David Christopher

Constantine told this newspaper earlier yesterday that RSLPF ranks are in contact with their counterparts in Guyana. He said that the vessel `Vicky B’ remains in the custody of the police on the island and that the men are being extensively grilled.

Meanwhile Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said that one of those detained is known to be involved in drug related activity. He said that the Guyana Police Force is in contact with police on the island and have so far gathered information on who the owner of the vessel is. It is unclear if that person has been found.

Persaud added that investigators are still checking to see when the vessel left Guyana and what its final destination was. He could not say what legal cargo it was transporting.

Police, according to St Lucia TV station HTS Channel 4 say that the men were on a vessel called Vicky B and in possession of a number of items including thirty kilos of cocaine, forty-six kilos of cannabis, one 12-gauge shotgun, fifteen rounds of 12-gauge ammunition, thirty-five rounds of 9mm ammunition and five military explosive grenades. The items, the report said, were all concealed in a compartment at the extreme front of the ship. The bust was made around 10:30 pm, six nautical miles off Soufriere.

Boxing promoter

An ensuing probe led to a gun and ammo charge against a well-known boxing promoter on the island who was born in Linden, Guyana. A St Lucian government consultant in maritime affairs was also held in connection with the discovery.

Promoter David `Shakes’ Christopher and his wife were charged in St Lucia on Thursday with possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition following the investigation into the discovery of the boat,

The Vicky.B in St Lucia yesterday (Photo courtesy St Lucia Police Force)

According to HTS Channel 4, police charged 49-year-old, Christopher and his 46-year-old wife, Mary Clovis Christopher of Bois D’Orange, Gros-Islet, for the possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.  The couple was each granted bail in the sum of $10,000EC, cash or suitable surety in relation to the charge of possession of a firearm.

According to the report, the Christophers were ordered by the court to surrender their travel documents and report to the Gros-Islet Police Station every Friday. They are not allowed to leave the state without the court’s permission. The case was adjourned to October 12th 2011.

According to HTS Channel 4, on September 27th  police executed a warrant at the residence of Christopher where they recovered a .380 pistol along with fourteen rounds of ammunition. Both Christopher and his wife were consequently arrested and taken into custody.

The grenades that were found (Photo courtesy St Lucia Police Force)

Acting St Lucia Police Commissioner Vernon Francois told the TV station that law enforcement is investigating the possible link between two high profile arrests on the island this week and the discovery of narcotics and a weapons cache aboard the Guyanese vessel.

Christopher made a business visit to Guyana in May last year and spoke to Stabroek Sport. He had said that a team of amateur boxers from St Lucia was expected here for a Goodwill tour of Guyana sometime later that year.

Christopher who was born in Linden in 1961 to St Lucian parents took over the presidency of the St Lucia Amateur Boxing Association in January 2009.

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