Prime Minister Gaston Browne says it is Prison Superintendent Albert Wade who recommended that an American tourist convicted of ammunition possession be released from prison.
Shannon Martinez served only one day at Her Majesty’s Prison after being jailed for one year by a local magistrate.
Bullets were found in her bag as she attempted to leave the country.
In explaining how the woman was released, Browne told listeners on Pointe FM that he agrees with the decision.
“My understanding is that the prison superintendent, who, after the person would have been sentenced to prison, would be the person who would now be in charge and based on the circumstances wrote a report and recommended remission to the minister,” the prime minister told listeners to the radio station he founded.
Browne said it was “a good decision” considering the circumstances.
He said Martinez who was vacationing here with her family, “had no prior convictions neither here or in the united states.”
“Unfortunately she was negligent and forgot the bullets in her suitcase and for that person to have been separated from her children and from her husband for something as simple as that considering that it was not illegal to have a gun or ammunition in the United States.”
He said based on the circumstances the discretion was granted and denied that the woman was given special treatment because she is American.
“There are some people who are trying to argue that is different strokes for different folks but there is no such thing. Compassion was extended and I think it was the sensible thing to do and I don’t think there needs to be any big brouhaha about it.”
Browne the prime minister admitted that had the government not acted the incident could have diplomatic implications.
“I mean ultimately if we did not act it could have been a diplomatic issue too. I’m quite sure that US authorities would have been concerned that one of their citizens is being imprisoned for something as simple as that. It’s not that we acted based on any intervention by the US was reported, we used our own discretion.”
The prime minister said he has also asked the Attorney General and the prison boss to look at other prisoners who need to be released.
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