Bias in ganja cases queried

| 27/03/2012

Customs+Border+Patrol+Processes+Holiday+Travelers+V2dme8UxFL5l.jpg(CNS): The North Side member has raised concerns about bias shown against a young Caymanian who will not be able to continue his studies because of a conviction for consuming ganja when another young man who, Ezzard Miller believes, has family connections to a leading law firm has escaped the same fate, despite also having a drug conviction. Although he has a 100% attendance and a 3.58 grade average, Anthony Berry (20) has been refused entry into the USA to begin his second semester at university as the authorities say he is permanently ineligible to enter because of a two year old drug related offence, which the Court of Appeal upheld last week.

Meanwhile, in September an un-named young man who had pleaded guilty to involvement in a scam over the Foster’s Food Fair Punch and Play Cards was also convicted of possession and consumption of ganja when he was arrested, but his conviction was not recorded.

Also an overseas student, in this case the young man’s attorney had asked the court to withhold the conviction against his client so it would notinterfere with his ability to study. The magistrate ordered that the drug conviction not be recorded on the condition that no further offences occur for the next two years but the defendant was handed down a $200 fine.

In Berry’s case the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal said it was not able to assist him as it could not tell the United States authorities that he was not guilty of a controlled substance related offence as he had pleaded guilty. The three judges saw no way to provide him with a document he could use to persuade US authorities that the offence had not really happened and there had been no conviction.

Miller said he was disgusted that one young man’s future has been ruined because he does not have the connections while another’s has been saved, even when they had committed and pleaded to the same offence.

“I am appalled at how two young men can be treated so differently, with one remaining un-named by the courts and the conviction withheld while the second has his whole future in question because of the same conviction over cannabis,” he added.

Miller added that this kind of criminal record was haunting people throughout their lives, which was one of the reasons why he had brought a motion to the Legislative Assembly last year to free people from a lifetime of problems. Decades after being convicted over consumption of ganja, people were still not able to go to the States and it was even hampering their ability to get work locally, the independent MLA added.

“These criminal records haunt people all their lives but government has done nothing about the motion I brought to the Legislative Assembly to address this,” he said. “With overseas staff requiring a police clearance certificate, many employers extend that to local employees as well, and for those Caymanians who have these lingering convictions that may be decades old, they are now also finding it increasingly difficult to get work in their own country.”

Category: Crime

Comments (112)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why is cannabis illegal in the first place? Is it a valid law? Do the laws concerning cannabis cause more harm than the plant itself? What are the facts about cannabis? What has been scientifically observed by people trained to observe the effects, socio-economically? 

    In my opinion the main issue is the misinformation, the stigma, people speaking ignorantly when they have not studied the facts. There are pros and cons to the use of cannabis, this is proven fact. Then general trend policy wise globally is heading towards decriminilization. The main obstacle to that is the way the internation treaties were rushed to completely preventing people who did not agree with the US policy regarding criminalizing hemp to allow synthetic fiber companies such as Dupont to flourish to stand up and say it was not a good idea. 

    People in cayman are so quick to point fingers at ganja as if ganja is responsible for our inability to raise and educate out children but not so quick to do the necessary research to see whether they are using cannabis as a scapecoat instead of addressing the real issues that threaten the long term security of these islands.

    Cannabis is a tool, similar to a hammer that can be used to provide medicinal, spiritual and recreational use. It can also be abused and lead to a lack of ambition. No sane, educated person would make the claim that cannabis in general leads to robbery, murder or rape. It disheartens me to read some of the comments where the lack of education is so blatantly obvious.

    I rather live in, and claim citizenship to a Cayman run by educated cannabis smokers, than a bunch of uneducated alcohol consumers. How many political officials have been involved in crimes involving alcohol? 

     

    If cannabis is illegal in Cayman, i would like to know why. And further more, i would like to know why the logic used to render the average cannabis smoker into a potential criminal doesn't extend to the likes of tobacco or alchohol?

    It has been proven that the health costs passed on to the community as a result of alcohol, tobacco, even obesity far outweigh the costs associated with cannabis use. Understandably so considering all the ailments it treats and or cures.

    It is HIGH time that the government solicited a proper unbiased review from a 3rd party as to the potential pros and cons regarding cannabis policy. There are too many people in the position of power that are prone to making decisions based off emotion and personal gain rather than looking at the facts at doing what is BEST FOR THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE.

    When you start telling people who for all intents and purposes are not violent or criminals prone to destructive bahvior that yes, they are indeed criminals and no better than rapists, murderers, thieves, then how do you expect them to interact with the community that judges but offers no compassion or makes no attempt to understand?  You expect them to stop being who they arejust so that you can feel comfortable? 

    The laws of the island are supposed to represent the entire populace. If half of the country supports legalization and the other half support criminalization, then appealing to one half of the populace doesn't seem like a just law that represents ALL OF US.

     

    Now is the time for cannabis law reform in Cayman. Wasting time locking up people for consuming a MEDICINE does not seem like the most efficient way to encourage them to be the productive members of society you want them to me, you're just CREATING more criminals.

     

    and lastly, considering that human beings have been using cannabis for different reasons for over 5000 years, and that it's only been illegal for 70 and directly as a result of US corporate greed at that….i find it hard to understand how people can so blindly support its criminalization. Go do some research sheeple.

    In other words, when looking at the history of cannabis, the time it's been illegal compared to the amount of time it's been looked at with respect and reverence is small and in time may prove to be one of the gravest mistakes humanity has made regarding policing of personal liberties. 

     

    and to all you people out there saying " it's the law, you shouldn't break the law", please remember it was illegal for inter-racial marriage at one point. there are still instances of archaic laws that do not serve the greater benefit of the people. In some states in the US it's illegal to have an ice cream cone in your pocket. does that make it a good law? 

    There is room for reform and unfortunately, sometimes people have to sacrifice their freedom, their reputation and their ability to provide for themselves, just to be able to stand up and say that a law is unjust. 

    I guess Rosa Parks should have just sat down in the back of the bus where it was legal? I guess slaves should have never broke laws by learning to read.

    Just because a law exists does not mean a law is just and it definitely does not mean that is its perfect and without room for fine tuning. And sometimes it takes 50% of a nation to stand up and say, this law does not serve the whole, it must change.

    Cayman isn't going to learn until Jamaica decriminalizes cannabis and again we will be left following others instead of for once stepping out and making a stand. who am i kidding, the only culture this island has is to assimilate other cultures and assume a reactionary stance to EVERYTHING.

     

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    I pray that a lot of people making comments on this thread are not in the jury pool when the three men who performed the home invasion in West Bay this morning are tried in a court of law. We are supposed to judge people who have been convicted of crimes. Hello!!

    On the one hand people moan and groan because this young man cannot go to university in the USA because of a crime for which he was convicted and then on the other hand we criticize the RCIPS and the MLAs for a rising crime rate. This young man dug his own hole. I didn't do it and neither did you. Make him take responsibility for his actions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    correction for post:

    Once you have a felony even in Cayman, I do not think the Canadian Embassy will accept you either as they and the US immigration work closely together

    • Anonymous says:

      While it is an offence smoking marijuana would not be classified as a felony. Felonies are serious offences such as murder, rape and burglary. This would be a misdemeanor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When I was in College, I so happened to make a stupid mistake in the US and was charged with DUI, which is a felony in the US not like Cayman where it is only a traffic offence. When I went to Jamaica to get my visa renewed, it was a different process than just me renewing my student visa. At the US Embassy in Jamaica I had to go to one of their prefered doctors in Jamaica and get a drug test and a full medical to prove that I did not do ganga or had alcohol in my system from the night before. I did have to return to Cayman with out my visa, then return to jamaica one week later to get the results and revisit the Embassy.
    I was granted my Student Visa and have since returned for a visitors visa, which I now hold. I do not come from a prefered family in Cayman nor is my family rich. When I made my mistake I had to save and pay my own lawyer fees because my parents told me it was my choice to do something that stupid and this is a part of life, so now I am responsible for getting out of my mess. They always warned me about the consiquences of my action but their words only fell on deaf ears.
    I am no longer eligible to use my UK passort to enter the US on the waiver program but the US embassy have renewed my visas. I did pay the price and had to do the DUI programs and pay the fines in the US. Which was very costly to me. I have learnt much from that experience from college, and the stupid mistake I made the night it happened.
    There is TWO side to every story, I do not think the US is bias anyone when it comes to applying for a student visa in Jamaica when you are from Cayman, because as I have experienced, they are willing to work with you. Who really knows if this student has gone back to Jamaica to the Embassy to try and renew the visa or if he did so, failed the drug test…They can test for ganga in your system for months after it is smoked.
    Once you have a felony even in Cayman, I do not think the Canadian Embassy will not accept you either as they and the US immigration work closely together. I have learnt that I now also need Visas to enter Canada and can no loner enter their with my British passort either.
    But I did the crime so I have to pay the price!

  5. Anonymous says:

     

    Do some research….

    I suspect not cheap and no guarantee of success…but can try this (can use an Immigration Specialist Company in US):

    "A US Entry Waiver is an official document granted by the United States Department of Homeland Security allowing people with a criminal record to enter the US legally. A Waiver is also required by individuals who have been deported, have agreed to voluntary departure, have overstayed a previous period of admission, or have been barred entry at any time. A Waiver also protects any person who accompanies an individual with a criminal record into the US from being denied entry.

     

    The United States bases admissibility on several criteria, most notably whether your criminal offences are considered to be of moral turpitude, which is “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty and good morals.”

     

    The granting of US Entry Waivers is based on three factors:

     

    • The risk of harm to the United States if you are admitted
    • The seriousness of your offence
    • Your stated purpose for entering the United States

     

    Waivers are granted at the sole discretion of U.S. border authorities. They are granted for periods ranging from one to five years.

     

    A Waiver brings relief and a new-found freedom. It allows for travelling to, and through, the United States. It gives you back control of your life. You choose where you would like to visit and vacation."

  6. A long term resident says:

     

    STOP – REHABILITATION – PLEASE EVERYONE THINK… why are there so many ignorant and self righteous people putting their ill informed views out there.  Are you trying to prove you are good Christians? Well if so you will remember Christians forgive. Let me make this simple, we have a rehabilitation law like most developed countries (including the UK and the USA) which simply states after a period of time your conviction becomes ‘spent’ and it cannot be referred to in the future unless the position you are applying for is an exception to the Rehabilitation Law (like the Police force) . The intent of this law is to allow for convicted persons to redeem themselves after a period of years so that their record becomes ‘clean’ again. I.E. they were bad, caught, found guilty but if they behave then it will eventually go away.

     

    Why do we and most countries have this Law? The thinking is that if we didn’t then convicted persons would have no incentive not to re-offend and they would think okay forget it I am never getting rid of this conviction and I may as well do more crimes a downward spiral would begin. Which does happen for some people but not young adults like in the story, the were young and stupid and are paying a high price.

     

    So keep your ill informed ‘pious views’ to yourself if you don’t understand something. All Mr Miller needs to do is to make an amendment to the Rehabilitation Law and I would be happy to help. It would be along the lines “if you are convicted of a summary offence under the age of 20 then the completion of a drug rehabilitation program within two years expunges your conviction”.

     

    Give these young adult a chance we are all sinners in some respect. 

    • Anonymous says:

      BUT the US does not pay heed to any rehabilitation laws of any country, the question is not one you can answer "no" to even if your conviction is spent in your home country….to be able to gain entry to the USA a person must be able to say that have not been arrested or convicted for any offence or crime. This is strictly observed for even minor offences.

      So even being arrested and not charged orconvicted is a bar….the reasoning behind an “arrest not resulting in a conviction” as a bar to entry is that the USA does not trust the judicial process of some other countries. The US claims that some arrested persons are not prosecuted because of bad procedure and flawed investigatory techniques rather than the innocence of the arrested party.

      Being convicted of crimes of “moral turpitude” will permanently bar the offender from entry into the US (child molestation, rape, fraud, theft, etc.), as will having been found guilty of a serious criminal offence (murder or grand theft etc).

       

      There is provision for a person to apply for a “waiver of ineligibility”…..

      The waiver essentially mitigates a legitimate reason to deny entry on the basis that the previous negative circumstance is no longer a significant concern.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      This is so true, i wish people will stop judging each other. And try to help one another.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately Judges have to a little judging as part of the job, and the dude gave them nothing whatever to work with to help him. It appears he had nothing but scorn for the laws so why is everyone crying over him?

  7. Man of Influence says:

    Yes anon 22:13 since you have all the answers explained to us why the officer in Mr Berry's case was dismissed from the RCIPS give it a rest ! We all know what this is plain and simple uttering a false document carries a maximum sentence of seven years no amount of Drug  rehab and court instructions and compensation can get  3 convictions struck from your record and your name not mentioned in the newspaper. Mr Berry's behaviour and actions are regretable and it can't be said he is not being continually punished for his drug conviction and his actions. The law must be fair and appear to be so. Please tell us anon 22:13 when and for whom this has ever been done for? Certainly no Caymanians that have come before the courts which i believe is the point Mr Millers is trying to make.

    • Anonymous says:

      The result is still the same. There is no guarantee that if the conviction is set aside that Mr. Berry will be granted a US visa. Once the courts start getting into setting convictions for one, it sets the precedent then every Caymanian criminal will have an example of why their conviction should be set aside. 

      Did Mr. Berry appeal this immediately if he felt he had been dealt with unjustly? It doesn't appear that way. It seems as though he was quite ok with the result UNTIL it has now come back to haunt him and NOW he cries "INJUSTICE!" 

      If he had not had problems with getting his student visa renewed would we have even heard about this story? Would he have been banging down the court doors crying injustice, I think not! 

      And my message still applies, you do something stupid you pay the consequence. Stop comparing him to the other person, he did a crime, he got caught, he was convicted end of story! Are there others who have done the same or worse and got no conviction recorded, more than likely but who said the world was fair. 

      Stop whining and just accept that he did wrong, he got the sh*t end of the stick and move on. 

      How do you think someone feels about the police finding a gun in their car that they had no idea was put there by someone they thought was a friend, automatic 10 year prison sentence. So Mr. Berry is still blessed to get the sentence he did. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bro as your country man you should have lowered your pride in take council they offered you and you wouldn’t be going through this, let this be a lesson my people your future worth more than looking kool among your friends and smoking weed!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Do not smoke ganja and there will be no charge that is my belief. But I must say thanks to Mr. Miller for bringing to the public how biased the court is. It is who you know. Wrong wrong wrong. Everyone should be treated fairly.

  10. Slowpoke says:

    The unfortunate message here is:

     

    Dear Baby Mommies,

     

    If you want your babies to go to University in the US, make sure you go to Miami before delivering…

  11. Anonymous says:

    “These criminal records haunt people all their lives but government has done nothing about the motion I brought to the Legislative Assembly to address this"

    Sorry? So people commit crimes and they are convicted and the government should step in and ensure that they are not negatively affected perhaps all their lives by their conviction. Is that what you are saying Mr. Miller? 

    Lesson learned:

    Do not do drug

    Do not steeal 

    Do not kil

    Do not commit crimes period

    There are consequences for all actions, keep your actions in check and follow the law and you will not have anything to worry about. 

    All that motion will do is to encourage people to be reckless and commit crimes if they know they can get their conviction overturned or the slate wiped clean after a certain period of time. What kind of example are you setting Mr. Miller? 

    If my daughter stole money and she was caught and convicted, she did the crime she do the time and if I knew she stole money she would be caught because I would turn her in myself. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Before y'all get your knickers in a bunch there is more to this story than was reported here. 

    The other person got no conviction recorded because he agreed to attend the Drug Rehab Programme. Mr. Berry refused to enter in the programme and even after being convicted his attitude toward mandatory meetings with the probation officer (or whoever he was directed to see) was nonchalant. He missed meetings and basically had an attitude of "I couldn't care less what the Court say". 

    Fast forward two years later, he has cleaned up himself and got accepted to University and apparently because of conviction the US government has decided not to renew his student visa. 

    It is only after that occurred that Mr. Berry sought to appeal his conviction, after he realized that it is affecting him negatively. 

    The Court of Appeal has now followed the law and indicated that there is no just and legal reason for them to set aside the conviction. They cannot set aside a conviction simply because someone realizes that their negligent, juvenile behaviour is going to affect them negatively apparently for a long time. 

    Also, as one of the judges indicated there is no guarantee that even if the conviction was set aside that the US Government would change their mind and renew the young man's visa so they cannot simplyset aside a conviction with the hope that the US Government may renew his visa. 

    Unfortunately we do things when we are young and naive and stupid but there are consequences to our actions and sometimes there are consequences that affect us for the rest of our lives. 

    There are other places he can study (UK, Canada etcetera). It is unfortunate that he will not be able to continue his studies in the US but people please do not make this about the other young man and his purported connections. 

    We are always seeing what we want to see and always trying to make things fit the way we perceive rather than what they really are. 

    Ezzard, I know you are the mouthpiece of "injustices" done and you're going to open your mouth loud, especially when it is for your fellow Caymanian and I commend you on that all the way except get the facts BEFORE opening your mouth. 

    You are inciting ill-will toward the other young man and making people think he got special favour when the truth appears to be that he agreed to terms and conditions that Mr. Berry simply balked on. He seemed truly remorseful and was willing to do whatever the Court directed, Mr. Berry didn't and Mr. Berry truly didn't give a hoot about it until it affected him negatively now suddenly he wants to make it seem as though he was treated so unfairly by the Courts. 

     

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    To say this man's future is 'ruined' is just going too far!  The US is not the only country that has schools.  He can also study in the Cayman Islands too!  Truth is there are still plenty of opportunities.  Maybe not the ones he wants, but that is a small price to pay for breaking the law!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Different strokes for different folks and justice for the few. We in Cayman have come to expect and understand just how unfair this place has become across the whole spectrum of this society and when those like Mr Miller make an attempt to speak out about it, they are attempts to drown these concerns out by those who would like Cayman with no rights or protections for its own citizens. This unfortunately is pushing our society further and further apart and to a point where a clash is inevitable.

  15. Reality Check says:

    If you read the court report Mr. Berry had a poor attitude when initially brought before the court.  He refused a chance to have his conviction removed by agreeing to go to rehab.  He missed various appointments with his probation officer and had an extremely nonchalant attitude towards the whole thing.  He only started to take things seriously when it was already too late.

     

    The only way a claim of bias could be considered is if the other unnamed person who had his conviction removed was equally as disrespectful of the court.  My guess is that was not the case.  I expect this other person took his court appearances and probation seriously and gave the court every reason to help him.

     

    Why should the court bend over backwards to help someone who clearly had no respect for the laws of the islands.  He is asking for help now to meet his own selfish needs.  I would doubt he is in the least bit sorry for what he did.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We must do something to stop this madness, this injustice against our youth.

    All have sinned and come short of the glory of god. You that is without sin first cast a stone.

    The point made is that others who were on work permits, did not have their convictions recorded and were involved with million dollar scams. They were allowed to walk free with a squeaky clean record they did not deserve ! whereas it should have been tarnished for life.

    Its time to convict the alcoholics who kill our innocent citizens on our roads and continue to drive on our streets looking to kill more innocent people.  Drunkards are a disgrace and should be treated as they are, a danger to society as they have put a lot of innocent  people in their early graves.We are tired of the road deaths caused by drunken drivers.

    The Legislators are responsible for making sure laws are put in place that will save our youth and give them a SECOND CHANCE  in their own homeland.

    People come to this country and use hard sycadelic drugs, the get caught by RCIP, no charges filed against them, no jail or prison time. It is brushed under the rug.

    Why can't we just simply  love our children eventhough they may not necessarily do the right thing all the time. Why don't God just kill us all since we are all so Imperfect all the time, and rarely ever do the right thing?. Most of us are rebels, some of you did much worst than this kid so why stone him to death? Let's have a look at your skeletons some of you.

    The Chief Justice should look into this, the premier or governor and pardon this young man. I'd say this is a prime application that should be reviewed by the governor and maybe the governor could consider pardoning the young man as he has high ambitions.

    We give everyone coming into this island a second chance with their convictions they had back in their homeland and they come to us to chill out……, why can't we give our own a chance.

    Mr. Miller as a legislator, you make a lot of applications on demand. As the representative for North Side you can make an application to the governor asking him to pardon this young man.

    God help this young man. And God help those of you who are guilty of blood on your hands, but yet you find time to criticize this youth for a lesser crime.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha. I know about 5 people who faced ganja convictions in cayman and used "connections" to get off scott-free. Its just the way things work. Do you think XXXXXX want to go to parties and family functions where they locked up another friends child? We're all people, sometimes doing things by the 'books' just isnt worth it. In this case, the child should have been more cautious, as he doesnt have connections. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    Poverty and a casual social attitude towards drug use is why the Caribbean region suffers the social ills and crime that we now face regionally.  Cayman does not have much of an excuse in the extreme poverty category, so it basically comes down to cultural attitudes.  A recreational puff of weed, or a line of coke is still socially acceptable, even among the crime fighters and customs staff (check out the inch-long pinkie nail on the guy at the airport).  This attitude problem has got to change if we truly want to tackle the serious crime and the business apparatus of transhipment, dealers, and their gangs.  The truth is that every puff or line that we tolerate makes one an accomplice to the social ills we all supposedly oppose.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very well said and very accurate. The question is whether the majority here have the desire/will to un-tolerate the use of drugs.

  19. Nicola Moore says:

    Ezzard raises an interesting point on the lack of formal sentencing guidelines available in Cayman.  Having practised as an attorney for 4 years on both sides of the fence in Cayman it occured to me that sentencing could be about as arbitrary as which defence advocate someone had.  This is not a critisicm of anyone at all rather it is simply an observation as to what actually took place.   I often found myself urging the court of appeal to adopt some of the Sentencing Council Guidelines or alternatively (where appropriate and where no justification existed for cultural difference in sentencing) the English Court of Appeal Guidelines.  This would provide for a range of sentences and make the process less arbitrary – particularly to the bystander.  It would give more credibility to sentencing generally. I never really understood the reluctance to do so.  The local guidelines in the Grand Court (available on their website) were somewhat dated and restricted as to the offfences dealt with.  Why not adopt a series of guidlelines like the Magistrates Court Guidelines and Sentencing Council Guidelines as in England?  For those who abhor the prospect of influence from the Uk there is no need for substance of them to be adopted – simply the form of a series of guidelines which assists advocates, defendants, judges and the public to know what to expect. Proper investigation and input from various organisations as to the appropriate local sentencing to be adopted can be codified and clarity can rule.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just say no to drugs. It makes good sense! If your so call friends want you to experiment with drugs, then it might be wise to choose better friends. Those that will uplift you.

  21. Da big Fix says:

    What a lucky fella and no prison time not even mentioned in the paper only time i seen that done is in juvenile cases which is understandable. Somebody got contacts boy!

  22. Stupid is as Stupid Does says:

    I smoked it myself. Yet I can freely move in and out of the U.S. and have a college degree and a decent job. Difference is, I wasn’t stupid enough to get caught or arrogant enough to think I couldn’t.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller,
    You would be up in arms if an expat was arrested and charged for the same offence if a person was granted a Work Permit and or a Student Visa. You would be wanting these forgein devils kicked off theisland ASAP.

    Shut up and get over it, this guy committed a crime, the laws in the US are the same as ours commit a crime and you stand a chance of having you visa refused or denied.

  24. Mr Self Righteous says:

    No conviction no name in the paper Boy he sure is a lucky !

    • Anonymous says:

      there are so many names 'not in the paper' here you could publish a special edition!

  25. Equal justice says:

    Well if you breakdown as to who did more harm to the public Mr Millers argument has alot of merit .This scam cause Fosters Food Fair to shut down the whole program to the general public and when i last checked Uttering a false document carries a maximum sentence of  7 years plus the two additional drug charges. How many times have we seen persons go to court and comply with court mandated programs yet still have to go off to prison even after pleading guilty.Why is he so special? why can't he not have his name mentioned in the local papers?. Some can twist this an spin this anyway you like but like Mr Miller we know what time it is. We also understand what is going in this little place. If the punishment should fit the crime and the law is the law Mr Unknown should be in prison. Mr Berry should consider himself lucky too because others had been sent straight to prison for the same offence.

    Keep up the good work Mr Miller the young people of this island  understand exactly who is standing up for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      How bout the fact that foster’s was breaking the law in the first place? the gambling law clearly states that any game of chance where monetary gain may result is a criminal offence. But foster’s, digicel, esso, texaco and the other corporations that often break the gambling law will never be charged whereas the “number” seller or buyer always faces the prospect of arrest and being charged with an offence under the gambling law.

  26. Anonymous says:

    De-criminalize it and make it the same as a speeding ticket.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's unfortunate that this has happened but maybe it should be served as a lesson for others.  The youth need to start thinking about their futures.  They need to realise that mistakes made in their past can have an affect on their future.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      With the way people drive here I think you got your sentence backwards.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The USA has all rite just like how you dont want it in your country they don't want it there's also if it was and american doing here you would have done the same thing or take the same action. "Do onto other as you like thme to do onto you"

    • Anonymous says:

      Drunken drivers are more dangerous to our society than smoking ganja.

      If ganja smoking is illegal so should be consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking and all beer mongering.

      Alcohol has put more people in their graves than any stick of ganja.

      Judiciary, Premier, L.A. get your act to gether and begin to make some sense here.

      Change the law and label it with the young man's name. That's what organizing a nation is all about.

    • Action says:

      You need to learn how to spell and have proper grammer before you tell anyone anything. First of all it is right not rite and it is them and not tehm. Yes the USA has a right to know who is coming in to their country just like Cayman has a right to know who is coming in to theirs. However if the person has a minor conviction of a ganja consumption then it should be off of his record long enough for him to at least complete his education abroad just as it was done with the other student. In Cayman there are no second chances when you are young if you do something wrong then you will always be know as that person. People are so narrow minded  they believe that people can't change.

      • Anonymous says:

        You all don't rule the world, you know. You rule the poor, the work permit holders, the female domestics. You are supereme Lords in Cayman but You cannot tell the Great USA what to do. Bite that!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          I don't think the post had anything to do wioth Cayman telling the U.S.A. what to do. It was a question of how minor offences here should be treated.  

    • Incognito says:

      I highly doubt this country would stop an US citizen from studying here due to a drug charge… Cayman doesnt need the negative media especially from it life string.

    • charley says:

      The same mr. Miller is the first one to jump on the band-wagon and fly off the hook about foreigners coming to Cayman and committing crime .In fact even if there is no evidence of crime they would be under suspicion. What good for goose good for the gander.

      • Anonymous says:

        ….I think he was flying 'off the handle' cuz the kid wasn't let 'off the hook'

  28. Wise-Up says:

    So what???  Don't need to work in the U-S-A!  Get a life and see that it is more than what society thinks of you or grades you.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This kid's life isn't over, but I don't think he should be looking to get any special treatment – two wrongs don't make a right.  If he is serious about making something of himself, he can study a course online.  It might not be easy, but perhaps he should have thought about that before he made a decision to commit crimes. 

    • Incognito says:

      His studies are not limited to the US.. Every tom, dick and Harry looks to the US for education,. There is the rest of the world at your finger tips with  Excellent Universities. 

  30. Anonymous says:

    You could simply avoid this problem by not messing with illegal drugs in the first place.

    And in cayman, when it comes to getting a job, it’s not what you know….it’s who you know

  31. Anonymous says:

    "Miller said he was disgusted that one young man’s future has been ruined because he does not have the connections…"

     

    The youth should not be using in the first place.

     

    Miller, is this one of the young men that you constantly call the Police about smoking ganga in NS, if not, why the seeming bias here? The young man made a mistake and is being made an example to others going to school in the USA.

     

    There are other places to obtain an education, even ICCI, Jamaica, CUBA, UK, Canada.

    • Incognito says:

      Agreed, I hope everyone remembered that Caymanian Students were caught with illegal drugs in florida prior to this too. He is getting the full dose because of them and his poor decisions from the US Gov.

  32. Anonymous says:

    This kid refused rehab and continued to smoke, even knowing he would later be tested.  You don't need a college degree to understand how that is going to turn out.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The controlled substance conviction aside for one moment, one must understand that crossing United States borders is not what it used to be even 15 years ago. The border authorities that grant entry have a data base to check your identity against & this includes criminal convictions that may show on your identity. As a foreign national, you are obliged to adhere to the terms & rules of the visa or ESTA entry you were granted on application. The moral of this story is that if you value your permission to visit the U.S.  you had better have a sqeaky clean record, up to date travel documents & no 'Flags' on your identity.

  34. Anonymous says:

    the legal system here is a joke…. caymanians literally get away with murder……

  35. Anonymous says:

    Life is made up of choices. 

  36. Anonymous says:

    Rather than having to worry about the possibility of a future opportunity to purge my record, I am simple enough to believe in the old saying 'Just say NO to drugs'. 

  37. Jacky Boaside from oldbush says:

    Oh i wonder when will they start locking up some of these high society people who use drugs on a regularly basis at parties and in their private quarters and take away their travel visas after their convictions in court. They have have to get court first of course. Yes all you self righteous thumbs down crowd i hope your children and yourself are living a drugfree life or you can afford to pay the high price of justice in these little islands.The truth maybe and offence Mr Miller but i can assure it is not a sin. Please continue to stand up for our rights in this little island no matter how unpopular it becomes.

  38. Letsby Avenue says:

    Given the report of this youth's conduct and attitude it is entirely proper that he is excluded from foriegn study.  He appears to have shown no attitude worthy of exceptional treatment.

  39. Fairplay says:

    Yes that would explain why several members of the same little group involved with the Foster scam and close friends of "unknown person" were charged with over 17 odd drug offences including possession with intent to supply get the facts people, Yes please read Caymanian Compass article dated 28th September 2011. Not only is it unfair its wreaks of  injustice no one is saying or suggesting that Mr Berry shouldn't be punish for his actions.

  40. Kadafe says:

    It is a pity but what can one do to help wen the said individual refused his chance to come out clean on the end. If not for that this problem would not exist now.

  41. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    De-criminalize weed for Christ sake, stop penalizing people for voluntarily taking drugs it is stupid primitive thing to do.

    This young man has now been branded a felon for doing something that is probably safer for himself and the public than drinking alcohol.

  42. Mulatuli says:

    Who funded this pointless appeal?  Were heavy costs imposed after the outcome?  What a disgrace to plead guilty and then try to get a document saying you were not guilty.

    More importantly this is yet another example of the divisive Mr. Miller shouting off when he does not appreciate the underyling facts.  Mr. Miller likes his soundbites and he often likes them before he knows everything that was going on.

    • Da big Fix says:

      Yeah Mulatuli you'd better stop drinking that sauce before you open yours.

  43. Anonymous says:

     

    The same offence resulting in 2 different outcomes is not a confusing issue though some argue so (and let’s not turn this into political Bull****).

    One offender abided by our court’s rulings and recommendations and is able to proceed with his life.

    The other did not, would not change his lifestyle and continued with the offence he was charged with….ganja use. How stupid is this when considering his educational and life goals? The outcome should have been more than obvious to a 3.58 (??) grade average student!

    Is life fair, yes to a degree, and it’s also based on the Choices one makes!! 

    Choices were made, one right, one wrong.

  44. dartanian says:

    Unfortunately most of you posters only want to beat up on Ezzard, the way I interpreted his concern is how someone could enter a guilty plea for both possession and consumption and admit involvement in a thieving scam but have no conviction recorded against his record. that is the unfareness he is complaining about not that Berry should have been treated any differently from how the courts treated him.

    Ezzards next point which was the point of his motion to change some aspects of the rehabilation of offenders law to allow earlier rehabilitation from such minor offenses.

    At least Ezzard is never afraid to speak his mind or make his views known, nor is he easily bowbeatten or intimidated, keep the pressure on Ezzard

    • Anonymous says:

      What ever type of apologist you are for Ezzard, for Ezzard to say that this young man's life is ruined by this situation is ridiculous and Ezzard was wrong to say that foolishness.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I dont understand the law is law!  I read the case this morning and  found it to be fair and just given the charge. Now you have people saying its wrong for the court to do their JOB! I mean give me a break you can't have it both ways you either convict them or you don't. Its sad he doesn't get go to school but the law is law some of these Caymanians guys get wayyyyyyyyyyyy too many chances! He was also tested for ganja TWICE after the first time in court.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the article…the judge offered this young man a chance to have his record clean AND HE REFUSED!!! HE tested positive twice after the first time in court, he didn't care, he thought he was above and beyond the court system.  So don't blame the courts, blame this young man's arrogance. 

    • reasonable man says:

      Mr. Miller must realise that people know what they are doing before they do it. No one force anyone to take illegal drugs or do any other crime for that matter. Its the choice we made in life that we have to live with. I was a youngster in the 70s but i did not do drugs. I was on my own from 16 years old and never in trouble with police as poor as i was. The judges are sworn to give judgements according to law and tempering the same with justice and discretion and that is just what they are doing. If politicians could tell the judges how to ajudicate in the couts what kind of society would we be? Its not as if the youngster steal food in order to survive,its taking illegal drugs which is not essential to one's survival. You cant tell the judges what to do. they spent years qualifying for their jobs. You cannot tell the US who to admitt in their country. You cannot tell the universities who to admit in their institutions. you can decide who come to cayman to work or to attend an institution of learning  but you cannot  cantrol admission into Universities outside cayman. Politicians, but out of where you have no control and accept the policies as is. Politicians interpret everything in terms of the popularity and votes they can get. We can see through their comments like a clear glass.

  46. Anonymous says:

    This has nothing to do with bias it has everythnig to do with the kind of legal representation you can afford. The difference here is that one had a Lawyer that had the sense and experience to be concerned about his clients abilty to study abroad.  These kind of things cost money…

    There's and old saying, If you can do the time or pay the fine. Don't do the crime.

    Let this be an example to the younger generation that if you want to do more with your life you need to keep your nose clean.. 

  47. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller's claims that such convictions can linger for 'decades' is absolute rubbish. I don't have the legiuslation in front of me but under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act certain convistions become 'spent'  if the person does not reoffend within the prescribed limitation period – from memory abouy 7 years after the conclusion of the sentence. It is thereafter banished from the offender's record of convictions.  

    • Anonymous says:

      The rehabilitation of offenders law has no application in immigration matters. It clears your name for domestic employment opportunities only.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Mr. Miller. What is not fully understood by the judges and other legal authoritiesinvolved are the repercussions for recording such a minor offence as this on a young person’s record. We very often blame our escalating crime rate on expats but tend to overlook the possibilities of the crimes being committed by individuals who have found themselves in similar situations as Mr. Berry and are unable to further their education to better themselves or to even find a job. Some of these individuals either end up going back to doing the same thing they got into trouble with or worst, many times leading to bigger offenses eg robberies, dealing drugs etc to survive. I really hope that this is resolved for Mr. Berry and all other young people who make mistakes in their lives just like many other adults who have been given a second and third chance to move on with their lives.

    • Slowpoke says:

      The Judges and Legal Authorities fully understand the repercussions.  But, their job is to enforce the "Law" as it is intended and written. 

      If you find it unfair, ask Ezzard to promote a change to our drug laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many second chances does Cayman give to convicts who want to live here?

  49. Anonymous says:

    Legalize it – don't criticize it
    Legalize it and i will advertise it

    Some call it tampee
    Some call it the weed
    Some call it Marijuana
     

     

    ….Peter Tosh

    • Castor Canadienses says:

      You are absolutely correct, the "War on Weed" was lost a long time ago. Legalize it and licence people to sell it. I am sure alcohol is much more a social ill than the "weed' will ever be.

      • Island Weed says:

        Castor Canadienses, I keep telling them that I am not as bad as they think.  They need to to try me, I am home grown, freeof pest, Nature, natural grown Island weed.  I taste better than 345, I taste beter than Ky-100, I taste better than 949, or 547, I taste better than Bud, cool or Coors, better than Rothman, winston or salem.

        I am a native, and have been around for hundreds of years, learn to live with me.  My name is called Island Weed.

  50. Anonnymous says:

    It is so unfair that these young people should pay for a mistake their entire lives.  Yes, we have to realize, and teach our children,  that our actions have consequences but who, during their youth,  hasn't done something they afterward wished they hadn't.  I have to agree with Ezzard on this. 

    • Anonymous says:

      He was old enough to know better….stop making excuses, again this is why we are having the problems we are having today because of people like you making excuses

  51. Anonymous says:

    Serve him right to play about with drug laws. Taking Drugs DO DAMAGE people and family lives. I have lost 2 friends due taking drugs.

  52. Anonymous says:

     

    Mr. Miller it’s nothing wrong with you making your point- but please remember that the consumption, possession, and distribution of drugs- just to name a few of the offences have been on the books for decades. This is one of the consequences for breaking the Law of consumption of Ganja! I am sure he was under the assumption (or should I say under the consumption) that he would never be caught.

    Let this be a lesson to him and many more. I could bet my last bottom dollar- that a similar situation will soon present itself with another young life- because they simply don’t learn from the mistakes of others.

    Without being too critical of you- I think the message that should be sent, especially to the youths. – Is that the Law was made to act as a deterrent to persons who may otherwise plan on committing offences. Penalties as you know were put in place to deal with the consequences of failing to be deterred by those Laws.

    Finally- each situation has its own set of merits- and I can only suspect- that is what happened in the cases mentioned. I applaud the judges for their decisions- and it would have been a sad day if the judges had acceded to the submission of the attorney- I wonder who would have been the first to call for a corruption enquiry had the judges did otherwise?

    in all honesty- i feel it for the young man. UCCI is here- lets see if he is serious about his studies. I am sure that he would be assisted on a local level "If he is interested that is"

     

     

  53. Anonymous says:

    I TOTALLLYYYY AGRREEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Read today's (27.3.12) Caymanian Compass.  It explains the situation and why Berry got the conviction recorded against him.  I guess it is like two people speeding around a corner; one makes it and the other crashes.  Now Mr. Miller asks why they both didn't crash, or why they both didn't make it.  Read the Compass and decide for yourself.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Bad analogy. They both crashed but only one got convicted of dangerous driving.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller,

    WhileI tend to agree with you on most things, you are addressing the wrong issue here.  Favortism occurs DAILY in Cayman, so just because "someone" else did it or "someone" else got this or that treatment doesn't mean the US was not correct here (or the CI Judiciary).  

    The FACT of the matter is that this man made a poor chioce (several actually, from doing the weed, not caring about doing it, not attending rehab, etc), and now HE has to live with this choice as we all do in life.

    He is NOT at any disadvantage because MANY US schools he can do distance learning from (IE: Doens't need to be physically in the USA).  So I see this "impediment" as a non issue really as far as this man is concerned.  Parents need to teach their children that the choices they make will stay with them forever, so make good ones! 

  56. Anonymous says:

    Clinton smoked Ganja and Bush did Cocaine – Go figure.

    • Anonymous says:

      obama did cocaine too

    • Anonymous says:

      Obama has smoked the high grade himselfyet he is very educated, well spoken, well mannered and a silent assassin with no convictions recorded.

  57. Slowpoke says:

    Did Ezzard bother to read about one person's lack of cooperation and attitude towards the Court, as a possible contributing factor to the outcome?  If he had done his share, the outcome would have been diffferent.

    Anyway, the real issues are Cayman's ridiculous drug laws and the moralistic buy in of the US based " war on drugs".

    If we adopted a science based approach (e.g. Portugal, Holland, Switzerland…) this would be a non-issue and savings(Policing & Northward) would be substantial. Yes, drugs do damage and are abused but, criminal laws solve nothing.

  58. Cayman Biko says:

    We all know what this is Cayman It just that disparity in the way justice was dispensed was just so blatantly ugly. Look around Cayman see which poltical figures are clearly looking out for our interest. thats another issue that the disparity is clearly defined.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Oh, so its the court system's fault that the poor guy can't go back to the US ?  And the drug offence was nothing to do wiuth his predicament ?  C'mon Ezz, get real. Don't taint your political strength with a hopeless cause.

  60. Anonymous says:

    "..who, Ezzard Miller believes…"  Hopefully the truth of this matter can be exposed in public to see if Ezzard is correct or if he is just part of that old village culture of "I had hear that he had say that she had hear that I had say….". We know he tends to this as part of his DNA, especially if a furriner is concerned, but, to be fair, it would be good to hear if there is any substance to his allegations.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Don't smoke ganja then!

  62. Young Caymanian says:

    This is a good point and no one should have their whole future ruined over a minor conviction. To see that he is young and wants to do something with his life and moving forward he should be commended. We all make mistakes in life, live and learn, and thank you sir for standig up for this young man.

  63. Chill Will says:

    This whole law enforcement apparatus always running program on locals with the help of own political stooges giving them the tools and the props to do it.  They are well aware of how unfair the system is yet they do absolutely nothing until its their friends and family that is affected.

  64. Cayman biting ants says:

    Got to give to you Ezzard get up stand up for our rights don't give up the fight.. Why should this little system honour our rights when we always settle for privelleges. Come  on Cayman Stand up and fight for our rights now. vote these useless politicians who do absolutely nothing out of office.

  65. Naya Boy says:

    Went down to the Courts office looking for justice all i saw was Just Us aaaah Cayman we got to hold our corner down now or they are going to take it away from us.

  66. Cayman broken says:

    Caymanians getting the short end of the stick as usual I know of a recent case where a certain person was given a warning for possession of a controlled drug unfortunately that level of discretion is not extended to persons born in this island. They usually end up in jail.

  67. Anonymous says:

    When will Ezzard stop using events to voice his opinion?

    Is he actually pretending that his is not aware of a double standard of justice in this country and through out the world?

    I am not from here and know of a number of examples of this, Ezzard this young man's future is not destroyed, stop your drama.

    Ezzard put forward a members motion making not paying stamp duty on the sale of property a crime punishable by jail and fine. Say up to $100,000.00 and/ or 10 years in jail.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hopefully never. Why on earth would a politician "stop using events to voice his opinion"? That is the essence of politics.

      I think he is saying quite plainly that he is aware of a double standard of justice. That is the whole point of this story.   

  68. Herb says:

    Legalize it! What was this motion Ezzard refers to in the article? 

  69. nauticalone says:

    Agree here with Mr. Miller once again.

    This situation clearly is unfair and heavy-handed. All for "consumption" of ganja? Should not the Police, Prosecution and Courts be dealing with more serious issues?

    What next?…charges for posession of Pepper Spray by a woman for self protection?

    Oh….just learnt today that's aleady been done. Must be the Police being "Intelligently Aggressive".

    Clearly our limited "Crime Fighting Resources" are not being approriated with the best use of a Common Sense aproach!

     

  70. Anonymous says:

    If Mr. Berry was the aspiring young man, who should've had his head on his shoulders and thinking about his future, he would not have found himself in such and uncomfortable position today.  If they commit the crime, increase the punishment and let him be an example for all the other fops, who want to show-off and act like what they are not (Men). 

    He didn't think of his education, I guess he thought of being BIG.  It just didn't pay off.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry , there is a simple way to insure this doesn't happen to you. DON'T break the law!

  72. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ezzard finally someone with the balls to stand up for what is right. Too many double standards in this country.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Pretty amazing that Cayman wants to manipulate its records to evade US visa restrictions on drug users. You won't get any visas at all if you lie.

  74. Anonymous says:

    Here lies the difference between the two Miller;

    Attend the drug rehabilitation scheme that the court has in place, turn up to your meetings with social services and make a concerted effort to change or show that you are changing and they dont record the conviction.

    Refuse the help being offered, kiss your teeth, act nonchalont, miss meetings and generally do nothing to assist yourself in the eyes of the court and you get a conviction.

    Simple.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Mr. MIller that some consideration should be given to having a mechanism for the expunging of convictions for non-violent offences that do not involve some serious breach of trust after an appropriate period of time. This is particularly true for people that take full responsibility for the actions that got them into trouble in the first place at the first available opportunity.

    However, Mr. MIller needs to take care not to compare mangoes with wild cherries. In comparing the reports of the two cases perhaps Mr. Miller missed the point that one of the young persons involved showed remorse, showed up for all meetings with probation officials, stayed clean and did not show up for sentencing with a new positive drug test, cooperated with the court and was willing to undertake drug councilling to get himself straight. The other, from the reports, seems to have left some room for improved behaviour. Perhaps therein lies the difference in outcome rather than some heinous act of wantondiscrimination?