First Venezuelan testifies in trial involving drug offense

One of the nine Venezuelans, who have been charged with drug and custom-related offenses after allegedly being caught  on a boat in Dominica’s territorial waters, gave his testimony at the Roseau Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The witness, who told the court he was a fisherman, said he left Venezuela on January 9, 2010 at 6 a.m. for Bird Island, to bring fuel for another boat. He said the nine-hour trip from Venezuela to Bird Island resulted in his arrest by Dominican police.

The defence witness said that his boat – a Venezuelan pirogue – had no lights on board, and on January 10 at about 8 p.m. they found themselves out at sea, without any clue of their location.

He has been making trips out at sea for the past seven to eight years, he told the court. He also added that the sea was in perfect condition at the time of his trip.

“The coast guard suddenly came in front of me and turned on the light … I thought it was the coast guard and I stopped quickly… They started shooting for about for about half an hour,” the Venezuelan man explained through an interpreter.

Defence lawyer Dawn Yearwood-Stewart asked her client whether he thought that the shooters were coast guards, and he replied, “No because they were shooting at us a lot, so we didn’t think it was the coast guard.”

“We were lying in the boat … when we observed that the shooting had ceased Pedro stood up and he was shot … when he was shot we stayed down, because we feared that we also would have been shot … I thought that it was bad people because they were shooting for a while and the police does not shoot like that,” the Venezuealan man explained.

The witness said he did not have any travel documents because he had no intention of coming to Dominica. He denied having any drugs on the boat, neither did he or any of his crew members throw drugs over board their vessel.

According to him, before the coast guard’s ship lights (clear yellow) came on and pointed at their vessel, they were all sitting in the boat headed to Venezuela.

The witness denied being chased by the police at sea. He said that he was not aware if one of the engines had gotten shot because it was dark and he could not see.

He alleged that the shooting incident took place at about 8 to 9 p.m. outside of Dominica waters. “We were outside of Dominica waters  because it took us eight  hours from Venezuela to there,” he added.

He reasoned on the witness stand, that if he was 11 miles off Dominica’s coast he would be able to get to the island in two hours. He further said during cross examination that he never heard the coast guard call for them to stop the ship.

The witness is expected to be crossed-examined by the prosecution on April 8, when the matter resumes. According to the defence, also being represented by Attorney-at-law Peter Allyene, if the evidence of the first witness is satisfactory the defence will close its case, and not waste judicial time by making each of the nine defendants testify.

At earlier hearings of the matter, prosecution witnesses – coast guard personnel – testified that they had encountered the Venezuelan vessel 11 miles off the coast of Roseau.

“When I turned on the light on my patrol boat and shouted [Stop Coast Guard!] the vessel immediately turned southwest and increased her speed. I lost visual contact then, but I could observe the fleeing vessel on radar and night vision equipment … I started pursuing the unidentified vessel at this point. I pursued her for about an hour-and-a-half on a 30-mile chase,” according to Corporal Francis, the captain of the coast guard vessel that night.

According to the prosecution witness no identification was found on any of the men, but a magnetic compass.

When questioned about throwing objects into the sea, they replied “[we didn’t throw anything]” Francis said.

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14 Comments

  1. Vieille Case Itassian
    March 23, 2010

    For those who think that the police were fabricating stories and for those who don’t see that the Venezuelans are just trying to walk their way out you need to read this link.
    http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/?p=326.

  2. Vieille Case Itassian
    March 17, 2010

    For those of you taliking your crap about the police, don’t you know that Dominica has a 24 mile zone in which they can pursue any vessel at any time of day or night whehter they are conducting legal or illegal business. Nothing of what the Venezuelans are saying have any credibility.

    The gentleman said he been making trips out at sea for the past seven to eight years”. How is it that he had no clue where he was? With a magnetic compass don’t they know that Venezuella is to the south of their so called Bird Island and not to the east.

    These guys must be jailed.

  3. Candid
    March 16, 2010

    Weh papa… more confusion…

  4. DA representing
    March 16, 2010

    TO: well Look it, d/ca to the bone& Anonymous.

    YOU ALL ARE CHATTING TO MUCH …!!!!!!!
    Venezuelans DRUGS MEN WONT NEVER ADMIT THEY ARE DRUGS ME.
    This thing happen between mexico and the states. They all give the same foolish story. left Venezuela to fish. I Blame the Coast Guard. They should leave a trace of the boat neither the men onboard!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous
    March 16, 2010

    set them man free.the police have no evidence against them man.alot of them dominicans that go fishing at sea is not french and venzuelans drug trafficers that killing them you know….

  6. well look it
    March 15, 2010

    BOY DEM MAN WELL HOLE ALL-U, LET DEM MAN GO BOY………………SOT

  7. d/ca to the bone
    March 15, 2010

    the timming of this case does not add up. he should have left birt island a long long time ago, but where is the evidence of items throwing. i would like to know on what is that case built, is it drugs or illegal water?, because if it is drugs , the police better stop wasting the tax payers money and time, because proof is needed, if it is illegal waters well i am sure the rada can scroll back to the chase we are in technology time.
    anyway lets see how this one goes through

  8. Fairplay
    March 15, 2010

    The men should have been released to the government of Venezuela as a goodwill gesture.
    The captain of a Coast Guard vessel should least have the rank of inspector.(lieutenant)

  9. steve
    March 15, 2010

    We should free the men. We have absolutely no basis to keep the men. If they are charged for being in our waters then they comit an offence but we have aboslutely no evidence of drugs then we cannot charge and prosecute them for the offence. We cant go by our feelings but by the presence of facts. The notion innocent utill proven guilty still stands and its not innocent untill suspected guilty. We should blame our Past and present leaders for not fighting for whats ours instead we receive hand outs from them. This man testified that it takes him 9 hours form venezuela to birds and island and an addition 2 hours he will be in Dominica. Alas Dominica when are we going to fight for what is righfully ours. A black man is President of the USA, this simply means anything is possible.

  10. Domerican
    March 15, 2010

    That Venezuelan’s story makes no sense. I’m not even an attorney and I can poke holes in that. He left Venezuela at 6 a.m. for a nine hour trip to Bird Island. Bro you should have gotten to Bird Island by 3 p.m. that same day. I hope they fry him during cross examination.

  11. STAGES
    March 15, 2010

    Those …. men have the most silly excuses. Thier story just do not add up.
    Thanks God no body was injured
    Domincans, a perfect example of how vulnereable our police officers are expose to danger in protecting its territory.

  12. dual citizenship
    March 15, 2010

    Why was the law written prohibiting dual citizenship parlimentarians?

    Was it not to prevent exactly what we see happening now?
    French Fishermen caught red handed stealing Dominica’s resources…(PM with primary french citizenship and secondary Dominican passport) orders that they be released.

    Dominican Fishermen repeatedly being held at gunpoint by French fishermen and told to leave their own FAD’s that they have constructed

    Venezuelan ‘??Fishermen???’ have been given our territorial waters and when the police arrest them and witness them dumping packets overboard see the response above http://dominicanewsonline.com/?p=6072#comment-21531

    what has this got to do with CARICOM security?
    Naval exercises with nuclear weapons are undergoing off our coast creating serious tensions among nuclear powers whose territorial sea is being challenged by V trying to increase it’s territorial sea with Bird Island
    Is not the Venezualan fuel storage at Jimmit and the melville hall airport prime targets for premtive strikes? what happens to the innocent people living around these targets?
    Do not laws of Dominica and that of the French prohibiting someone from holding office as a civil servant or millitary post/service in a foriegn power?

    Was not the PM made to reveal the secret that he is a French citizen?

    Who is chairman of the CARICOM? is it a EU citizen or a Caricom Citizen?

    If the French do not permit someopne to hold civil or military posts in a foriegn power/country and keep the French citizenship as a dual citizenship then if the french citizenship has not been revoked then is it not safe to say that there is an exception being made for the person holding the dual citizenship?

    TREASON ACT 10:01
    http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap10-01.pdf)

    http://www.dominica-weekly.com/news/developing-story-murders-at-sea/

    http://dominicanewsonline.com/?p=6072#comment-21531 Venezuelans caught off Dominica.

    “National
    March 11, 2010 • 3:12 pm
    This is very good that security is being adressed.

    As a Dominican fisherman I feel absolutely no sense of security in our waters.
    3 times I have been held at gun point by frenchmen while in Dominca’s waters.
    Many other fishermen have to abandon/surrender their FAD’s when the french fishermen want it.
    In 2009 were not three fishermen from Dominica executed while in our waters?
    How many others have simply disappeared?
    When our fisheries and coast guard cuaght the french fishermen did not the Cabinet of the Skerrit Administration order that they be released without being prosecuted?

    Who is allowing Ven—ela to take over our territorial waters around Bird island ?

    some Now that Venezuela is trying to get it recognised as an island is not Dominica losing hundreds of square miles of territorial waters?
    Is it not that the result is that we only have ~35 miles to our west?

    Has this not stirred up a hornets nest of Regional security issues that has placed Dominica in the middle?
    How many nucl–r p—rs are now arming naval and bases in the caibbean sea becuase of the challenges to their territorial waters that Bird island is now posing?
    Let us ask ourselves the following:

    Is there not a rus—n presence in the caribbean sea training ve—-lan tr–ps?
    has the (US-, Brittish, F—ch, Dutch and Ch—se, Ir—n) m—ta-y presence been increasing in the Caribbean basin?

    How does this affect the (Food, Territorial, n-v-l, energy, shipping, Fisheries, ..)security of the Caricom?
    Have not the French been transporting plutonium through the Caribbean sea for the past 15years?
    What was the secret ‘extremely dang—us’ material spilled from the sunken ship off St Lucia last week?

    Is not Dominica being used by a non national to penitrate the CARICOM?

    Concerned and threatened (single citizenship) Dominican

    “fisherman
    March 13, 2010 • 5:15 am
    How many Dominican fishermen have disappeared?

    How many square miles of territorial sea have we lost ?

    Now we can only fish up to 20 miles west (becuase of a French man giving away our Bird island in exchange for ???? we were able to be in our water 270miles west.
    what is the economic value of the fishery?
    what is the economic value of the massive oil and Gas found around bird island?
    (see: TREASON ACT 10:01
    http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap10-01.pdf)

    now we only have ~2 miles north and ~5 south of our coast.
    east is less than 30 miles as the french waters form a cone to the east.
    Our fishing banks are fisehed every night by the French who set traps and return the next night for it.

    How many of my fellow Caricom fisherfolk have been held at gun point, killed and disapeared after encounters with French and Venezuelan fishermen and Drug runners?

    http://dominicanewsonline.com/?p=462

    http://www.caricomlaw.org/

    http://dominicanewsonline.com/?p=1058

    http://www.jis.gov.jm/special_sections/CARICOMNew/CSME2.html

    How many nuclear powers are now flexing nuclear and military force in the “peaceful ” caribbean sea becuase of the bird island issue?

    Are not fuel storage (Located on the west coast of Dominica) and airports (Night landing yet to be commissioned…Did not the civilian airlines make it clear prior to onset of installing the lights that melville hall will not be able to be used for night landing?)the prime / 1st targets to be bombed in any conflict.

    http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-17030–31-31–.html

    http://repeatingislands.com/2009/06/18/the-venezuela-petrocaribe-project-and-energy-security-for-caribbean-countries/

    .”

  13. interesting
    March 15, 2010

    them venezuelans lyin.. the man tie up himself…. let me see the outcome of this case…

  14. black Man's plight
    March 15, 2010

    Well this is a clear example of why we should uphold the law and the constitution of Dominica.
    “The witness, who told the court he was a fisherman, said he left Venezuela on January 9, 2010 at 6 a.m. for Bird Island, to bring fuel for another boat. He said the nine-hour trip resulted in his arrest by Dominican police.

    The defence witness said that his boat – a Venezuelan pirogue – had no lights on board, and on January 10 at about 8 p.m. they found themselves out at sea, without any clue of their location.

    He has been making trips out at sea for the past seven to eight years, he told the court. He also added that the sea was in perfect condition at the time of his trip.”

    We need to ensure Dominica is governed by Dominicans not French men who prostitute us by giving away our territorial waters. our income our Resources….

    Now not only the French but also the Venezuelans have also been brought here to do the same…
    As a Fisherman who has been held at Gun point by the French men 3 times in while in Dominica waters I can only say thank God it was not a Venezuelan or one of the Russians who are training them as we speack…because I simply would not be alive today…
    Just as my 3 Dominican Brothers who were murdered last year…by who????

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