Four Guyanese were jailed on January 21st in St Vincent and the Grenadines over the possession of burglary tools.
Kevin Orindio McLennan, 29, Aslam Kayum, 47, and Davendra Singh, 33, were jailed for two years each after they pleaded guilty earlier this month. Rizwan Mohamed Meerza was jailed for six months and 34-year-old Savitrie Sookraj was sentenced to time served and ordered deported. The five were linked to equipment which St Vincent authorities believed would be used to rob ATM machines on the island.
According to St Vincent’s The News newspaper’s January 25th edition, Chief Magistrate Sonya Young said Meerza and Sookraj did not play major roles in the plan.
She, however, found that Singh was the mastermind, Kayum the financier and McLennan the middle man. The News reported the Chief Magistrate as saying that “if persons feel they can come to this country and commit crimes and the most they get is a smack on the wrist then it would say nothing for the system of justice. She was adamant that she must send a strong and clear message both to nationals and non-nationals”.
During Monday’s hearing, Grant Connell, one of the lawyers for the Guyanese, suggested a financial penalty and deportation. He said it would not be a wise idea to mix these prisoners with the general prison population as they could share information about the schemes. As a result, the Chief Magistrate said that she would make an order that they be separated from the general population.
Two other persons, Gangadai Boodram, 54, and Surendra Sookdeo were freed at an earlier stage.
The seven originally faced three charges, but the prosecution, led by Inspector Adolphus Delplesche, accepted the guilty pleas, having dropped two of the charges against the visitors, The Vincentian newspaper had said.
The seven arrived on different LIAT flights and stated their intention of spending a holiday in St Vincent. It was not until they raised alarm bells by not knowing where they were going that their operation became of concern to law enforcement officers.
The Vincentian said that included in the visitors’ luggage were drills, saws, silicone gel, five bits, one yellow cutting blade, and three screw drivers. Solder machines, cables, a Samsung cell phone and charger, X-ray Paper, extension cord, scissors, magnifying glass, a counterfeit detection pen, 314 data cards, two scanners with cameras, and a Toshiba Laptop were also in their possession.
Inspector Delplesche told the court that Singh, returned from French Guiana and linked up with his colleagues in Guyana. Delplesche said that the mission was to plant the camera and scanning equipment to the roof of ATM machines.
He charged that information would have been gathered from cards used by patrons at the machines.