A 22-year-old man who claimed he picked up a high-powered pistol because he was drunk, is highly unlikely be intoxicated again over the next six years.
The man, Akeem Ferdinand, unemployed, of Rockies, will spend the next six years in prison for firearm and ammunition possession.
“If I wasn’t drunk that night, I wouldn’t ah come across that gun,” Ferdinand told Magistrate Bertie Pompey on Monday when asked what he had to say for himself before sentencing.
“So the alcohol mek yo’ see the gun?” the magistrate responded during the proceedings at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
“It make me pick it up and walk with it when I should ah leave it there,” Ferdinand responded.
“Well said,” the magistrate commented and told Ferdinand that the only mitigating factors in the case were his early guilty plea and the fact that he had no previous convictions.
Ferdinand was among three persons jointly charged last week Wednesday for possession of one Uzi pistol and 12 rounds of 9 mm ammunition at Murray’s Village around 10 p.m. the previous night.
He was jointly charged along with Mwata Henry, 25, unemployed, of Redemption Sharpes, and Marlon Wyllie, 34, a vendor, of Murray’s Village,
At their arraignment last Wednesday, Ferdinand pleaded guilty to the charges while his co-accused pleaded not guilty.
His sentencing was postponed to Monday.
In presenting the facts, prosecutor Station Sergeant of Police Elgin Richards, told the court that three Rapid Response Unit officers were on mobile patrol duty around Kingstown last week Tuesday night when they stopped R2372, a car, in Murray’s Village.
The police alighted their vehicle and while they were approaching the car, the driver began to drive off.
The police again ordered the driver to stop, and, using their flashlights, saw that there were three occupants inside the vehicle.
Henry was the driver, Ferdinand was sitting in the front left passenger seat, and Wyllie was sitting in the back seat.
The police noticed that Ferdinand looked nervous and was fidgeting with something under his seat.
Richards told the court that the police ordered the occupants to exit the vehicle and Henry and Wyllie did so, while Ferdinand continued to fidget.
The again ordered Ferdinand to exit the vehicle and he did so.
The police requested a search of the vehicle and the occupants consented.
The police found the gun on the left passenger side of the vehicle and cautioned the defendants, all of whom said they knew nothing about it.
The firearm was examined and found to contain 12 rounds of ammunition.
The police firearms expert examined the weapon and found it to be functional and the ammunition to be live.
Checks with the firearms licenses registry showed that none of the men had a license to keep a firearm or ammunition.
Richards noted that while the law generally provides for a magistrate’s court to impose a maximum prison sentence of seven years for a crime, the Firearms Act allows for a magistrate to impose a sentence of up to 10 years on summary conviction.
Pompey noted that firearms are responsible for the majority of homicides committed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this year.
He further said that the area where the men were intercepted is in close proximity to where the most recent murder occurred.
One night earlier, four masked men approached 22-year-old Kesron Quashie while he was playing dominoes outside his home and shot him.
“Only heaven knows if this interception prevented someone else from losing their life,” the magistrate said.
Pompey, a retired deputy police chief, said that the Uzi was designed and manufactured in the Israeli military not for hunting but for killing people.
“These are the aggravating factors,” the magistrate said and handed down the sentences.