by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Basil Williams vindicated of drug trafficking charge
- Williams embarked on a community outreach campaign within his constituency
Grenadian politician Basil Williams has been vindicated of drug trafficking charge. Williams who has always maintained his innocence breathed a sigh of relief but said the ordeal would have a lasting effect especially since he was falsely portrayed in the media as a drug dealer.
Williams was among 3 men jointly charged with importation and trafficking of cannabis after a barrel was seized during a search at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) where a compressed quantity of the illegal drug was found inside a bag of cat food sent from the United States.
26-year-old disc jockey Brian Charles also had his charge dropped after the third person implicated in the drug charge, Branford Thomas accepted full responsibility for the importation of the controlled drug.
Today, Basil Williams, who represented The Progress Party at the recently concluded 13 March General Election, held a press conference alongside his attorney Benjamin Hood and expressed his disappointment at the way he was portrayed in the media.
“I think the media could have handled the situation better because there is ethics in everything that you do, including journalism, and like my lawyer said I was only charged – but taking it and running with it like I was absolutely guilty, I felt like the media was trying to make it seem that way. Didn’t you know that I was not required to turn in my travel documents? But that was stated in every media outlet, but that was not true. One of the media outlets said the cost of the marijuana’s street value was under $250,000. That was also not true, because according to the police and the judge, that was $34,000 so that was a magnification of the cost to make it seem like it is a more serious offence. And another media house stated that I sent Jabba to go get the barrel. That was not true.”
Williams says the ordeal was tough, but support from his family and close friends helped him. “The experience itself going through the justice system and spending some time in the cell was not a welcoming experience, but I am grateful that the court did its job and I am found innocent.”
Speaking on behalf of his client, Hood said this was, in fact, an unfortunate incident. “My client had no knowledge of the incident or any barrel being sent in his name, and it is somewhat of an unfortunate situation, but that’s why we have the court system. Despite particular things posted against him we stayed the course and the right decision was made in the end.”
After taking responsibility, Branford Thomas, who was at the time visiting from the United States, was ordered to pay $20,000 on Monday, 28 May 2018 which was to be paid immediately or he would face 2 years at the Richmond Hill Prison.
Since his vindication, Williams says he has embarked on a community outreach campaign within his constituency by engaging schools, health clinics, and local business owners with the view of improving his community.