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New Yorkers Delayed in Antigua Expected Home Soon

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For over a month six Brooklyn residents have been held up in Antigua after being accused of assaulting police officers in the Caribbean island. Representative Ed Towns, D.-NY along with U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz R.-Utah took a trip to the island to help move the legal process along a little as it had been going on for more than a month.

The incident was said to have occurred on September 4 on a Carnival Cruise ship that had been anchored in Antigua for around six hours. The group of New Yorkers, four women and two men, took an unlicensed cab ride to the beach. They thought that the round trip ride was going to cost $50, but on the way back to the cruise ship, the cab driver told them the rate was actually $100. The group refused to pay and the cab driver drove them directly to the police station.

The New York group was confronted by Antigua police officers but they were not identified as such and the group thought that they were being robbed. Fighting broke out and all six were arrested for three days. They were subsequently released but they were not allowed to leave Antigua. As a result of the month-long trial, a couple of people out of the group lost their jobs and one woman had to drop out of law school this semester because of the delay.

The group was charged with battery on police, disorderly conduct, using indecent language and wounding and malicious behavior. But with all of the press coverage, the families of the group issued a statement saying that those involved were “professional, hard-working, educated individuals” who attended church and were active in their communities and involved in civic organizations.

The group was ordered to pay a total fine of around $3,600 between them after five of the six plead guilty to minor charges. Charges against the sixth person were dropped and the judge did not make them spend any extra time in jail.

The two representatives who went to the island helped expedited the process and get the group ready to head home. Rep. Chaffetz actually didn’t know anything about the situation until Rep. Towns asked him to join him on the trip. Having members of both parties come together on a diplomatic trip such as this one is a common practice in the House and the two were joined by State Department representatives as well as two committee staffers.

Chaffetz and Towns met with island leaders including Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer. They conveyed to the Prime Minister that the press that this case would generate would have a negative impact on their tourism business. All in all, the US officials helped to move things along for the Brooklyn tourists and helped to get them ready to come home. They are expected to return home on Wednesday of this week.

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  1. Johnson says:
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    There were 12 tourists. The other 6 were smart enough not to join the brawl.