BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Wednesday May 15, 2019 – The Greek billionaire who is heir to the Coca
Cola fortune yesterday left St Kitts and Nevis where he is facing drug charges,
but not before warning Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris that he and his
government would be slapped with a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit over the
Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David flew out of the twin-island federation after paying the EC$300,000 (US$111,010) bail imposed on him when he appeared in court yesterday, charged with possession, intent to supply, and importation of $1.3 million worth of cannabis.
The charges were laid after an investigation into the discovery of cannabis on his private jet when he arrived at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport last Tuesday, along with American businessman Chase Ergen with whom he is in a cannabis business venture. Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his family had also been travelling with David and Ergen.
The 51-year-old billionaire was
arrested by members of the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the airport when he tried to leave
last Thursday, and he was subsequently charged. He was initially granted EC$30,000
(US$11,101) bail and ordered to surrender all travel documents and report to
the police station daily.
When David appeared in court yesterday,
the bail amount was increased to the EC$300,000 (US$111,010) but his travel
documents were returned to him and he was free to leave the country. He must
return for another court appearance on September 23.
Before his court appearance yesterday, David had gone on a profanity-laced social media tirade. In one of the videos he posted, he shook a clenched fist and, in a comment directed at the Prime Minister, said: “Mr Harris, PM, you’re going to get a fisting, baby. Literally a legal fisting like no other. Stand by.”
He is insisting that the plants he had on his plane were hemp and were related to his plans for a new legal cannabis business in St Kitts and other parts of the region. He and Ergen had announced last month that they had formed a consortium which specializes in cannabidiol (CBD) medicines and they hoped to develop the legal cannabis market in Eastern Caribbean countries including St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda.
In the press release on April
30 when the formation of the consortium was announced, it was stated that the
first plane load of hemp seed for a designated parcel of land totaling 300
acres would arrive on Thursday, May 2.
On Monday, at a press conference at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort where he used strong and sometimes foul language, David said the plants and seeds had been declared to Customs and other relevant government agencies prior to his arrival, in accordance with local procedure, and he insisted that after exhaustive testing nothing illegal was found.
And he made clear his intention
to take legal action, as he suggested that Prime Minister Harris was behind his
arrest, following a meeting he had with him on Sunday at the Park Hyatt Hotel.
“It was a very civil meeting,
very polite meeting, I sat down opposite him. It was very, very nice; we sat
and talked for 15 minutes. I left. I was being asked to do something I didn’t
want to do, so I left. Chase [Ergen] went in and started having conversation
with him. A bunch of witnesses who work there saw his guards pick Chase up and
take him out, and the next thing you know he’s being arrested for drugs, for
cocaine, which is Ketamine, which is his medicine that has been taken away from
him and he’s now languishing in jail,” David said on Monday. Ergen was
subsequently released without charge.
“So let me tell you, Mr Harris,
what’s gonna go down. There are three lawyers here from the UK and they’re
gonna take you down, Sir; you don’t do that to me or to my friend.”
“What he’s done is illegal,
it’s wrong and it’s unconscionable. I took on four of the biggest companies in
the United States and I beat them after seven years of lawsuits, just out of
principle, nothing else, because they called me a liar. Mr Harris here has a
whole new thing coming at him,” David added.
A statement from David’s
company, Swissx – a cannabis and CBD business based in Gstaad, Switzerland – said
the lawsuits against Harris and the government would be filed in St Kitts this
Asked to elaborate on his claim
that talks with Harris broke down after the Prime Minister asked him to do
something he did not wish to do, David declined to do so at the advice of
members of his legal team who were in the back of the room where the press
conference was being held.
When David and Ergen announced
the formation of their consortium last month, they said their plans included
purchasing agricultural land and partnering with farmers to create a
cooperative entity modelled after the ones in Switzerland. At that time they
said the consortium had already had its first meetings with business and
government leaders across the region and would be expanding its outreach this
They added that the consortium would create thousands of jobs and also tap into the rich cultural history and cannabis know-how of the strengthening Rastafarian movement in the region.
“The Eastern Caribbean is in
perfect position as cannabis shifts from being an illegal $400 billion business
globally to a legal one worth ten times that. It will be the Silicon Valley of
cannabis, the Wall Street, the Hollywood,” David had said. “Ultimately we are
bringing cannabis back to its birthplace.”
Ergen had added: “St. Kitts-Nevis and its neighbours are ideally situated to produce the highest quality CBD in the world. We have no doubt we will be able to double their GDPs within a matter of years as the region takes its rightful place in a market that is literally changing people’s lives.”
Jamaica’s Justice Ministry Rolling out Initiatives to Prevent Witness Intimidation
Jamaica, Monday July 22, 2019 – The
Jamaica government is embarking on initiatives to protect witnesses in trials from
intimidation, including providing buses equipped with audio-video technology,
to assist in securing testimony from witnesses.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said two
such vehicles, which will be rolled out soon, will be used to travel to remote
areas where witnesses may be located.
He said other initiatives include
equipping 78 courtrooms with digital audio facilities, and 19 with audio-video
recording apparatus, noting that “with this technology, witness intimidation
will be significantly reduced”.
Additionally, the Minister said,
legislation has been passed to allow witnesses in human trafficking cases being
tried in the Circuit Court, to testify before presiding judges without a jury.
“Our goal, mission and purpose at the
Ministry of Justice is to create a first class justice system that delivers
timely justice to all, irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances,” Chuck
emphasized, adding that a first-class justice system cannot exist without the
proper care and protection of witnesses.
His comments were delivered by Executive
Director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, at a Witness Care Conference,
at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Mona, which ended over
Minister Chuck said engagement such as
the conference are intended to provide a “wealth of information” that should be
used as “critical investments” to yield “tangible results” for the care of
This, he added, is imperative in
spurring civic-minded Jamaicans into action, and sending a message to the
criminal underworld that “witnesses will not cower in fear, but will be
motivated to stand and be counted and play their part in creating a society that
is secure, cohesive and just”.
The inaugural event was a key activity
under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Project, a
$19.8 million Global Affairs Canada (GAC)-funded initiative, being implemented
by the Justice Ministry and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It is supporting justice sector reforms through technical-legal assistance; institutional strengthening; and social order.
Real Estate Board in Jamaica Clamping Down on Developers Who Illegally Sell Properties
Jamaica, Monday July 22, 2019 – The
Real Estate Board (REB)/Commission of Strata Corporations (CSC) is clamping
down on unregistered real estate developers who are selling properties
“For the second time in 2019 we have had
a conviction for an unregistered developer, and both cases are now at the
sentencing process,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate
Board/Commission of Strata Corporations, Sandra Garrick.
“We want to remind persons that the Real
Estate Board/Commission of Strata Corporation is committed to ensuring that if
developers fail to register they will answer to the law.”
Garrick added that in one of the cases, units
were being marketed and sold in an unregistered scheme for which the developer
had not yet acquired land.
“Part of the REB’s responsibility is to
oversee that purchasers receive what they have contracted and that monies paid
over to developers are used as the Real Estate Act prescribes, meaning the
funds are put in a Trust account and not used as the developer’s personal
money,” she emphasized.
Garrick also encouraged purchasers to do their due diligence when
“As a purchaser, the first thing you
should do is ensure that the real estate developer is registered with the REB
and is allowed to contract business, sell units and advertise. A list of
registered developers can be found on the REB’s website and persons may call
the Board to do checks,” she said.
Garrick pointed out that there are times when the REB may give a developer tentative approval, but will not grant the approval to market the units.
Cayman Islands Leads International Gold Smuggling Investigation
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Monday July 22, 2019 – Authorities in the Cayman Islands are leading a money laundering investigation with the assistance of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), following the seizure of gold worth around £4 million (US$4.9 million).
The gold was seized by the NCA as part of an international investigation into a suspected South American drugs cartel.
Officers from the UK’s Border Force, acting on intelligence from the NCA, moved in to detain the shipment at Heathrow on June 1. The gold was being transported from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland, having earlier been shipped to the British Overseas Territory on a private jet from Venezuela.
The bars and pieces of gold, which together weigh around 104 kilos, have been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, following a hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates in London.
NCA Heathrow branch commander, Steve McIntyre, said: “We believe that this shipment was linked to drugs cartels operating out of South America. Working with partners overseas and in the UK we were quickly able to identify it and stop it’s onward movement.
“The business model of many organized crime groups relies upon the ability to move money across borders, to fund further investment in criminal activity. If we can stop that it not only causes disruption to the criminal network involved and prevents them benefiting from crime, it also stops that re-investment.”
Nick Jariwalla, Border Force Heathrow Director, added that taking large amounts of money or gold out of the control of criminal networks hits them where they feel it most – in the pocket.
“This was a substantial seizure and demonstrates how effectively Border Force works with law enforcement partners, both at home and abroad, to combat organised crime,” he said.
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