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A scooter rental agent was on Monday sentenced to 12 months in prison for having 23 grams of marijuana with intent to supply.
Police arrested Renato Zhavargo Russell, 38, of Ross Corner, on October 25 at Festival Place because he matched the description of a suspect, the court heard.
The officers found 10 packages of marijuana with a combined weight of 23 grams in a red pouch that was around Russell's neck.
At first, Russell attempted to plead guilty to the less serious charge of drug possession at his arraignment before Magistrate Andrew Forbes, but Assistant Superintendent Ercell Dorsett refused to accept the plea.
Russell pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to supply, but still maintained that he had the drugs for personal consumption as part of his Rastafarian faith.
Forbes said that he would have to remand Russell to prison pending trial as his plea was equivocal.
Russell eventually pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to supply, admitting that he planned to sell the drugs. Russell said that the $245 that police took from him as suspected drug profits belonged to the scooter rental company.
Forbes ordered the money returned to the company.
Asked to explain his actions, Russell said he was trying to raise money to start another business.
Forbes asked, "You ever heard of going to the bank?"
Russell claimed that he was unable to get a loan.
Forbes sentenced Russell to two concurrent six-month sentences for possession of marijuana and cocaine in June.
Russell was placed on probation in those cases after he pleaded guilty and claimed that he needed help for his drug problem.
Russell could have received an absolute discharge had he successfully completed a drug counseling program and stayed out of trouble.
TWO tourists had to be taken to hospital yesterday after a collision between a truck and the scooter they were riding.
An eye-witness said the intersection where the incident occurred, Culbert’s Hill and Hill View Drive, has no stop signs – a fact which has caused “a number of accidents” in the past...
Being a pedestrian in New Providence is not easy. Many lose their lives each year navigating our streets.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) keeps a watchful eye on tourists and local pedestrians downtown, but elsewhere Bahamians are largely left on their own. Walkers, joggers, and cyclists share many of our roads, with police patrol presence being sporadic.
Congested areas such as Shirley Street have sidewalks placed with no cohesive approach. Kemp Road and other frequently used roads with high-density residential dwellings and schools need attention. Parents should not have to fear their children crossing a street next to a school.
Though the New Providence Road Improvement Project upgraded and installed much-needed sidewalks, some components such as the placement of concrete islands are puzzling. The crosswalks at Baha Mar are difficult for oncoming drivers to navigate. Vehicle and scooter accidents now occur frequently in the area and Baha Mar has yet to open.
Motorists tend to incur most of the blame, but pedestrians share responsibility and need to keep aware of their surroundings. With iPods and cell phones, pedestrians can be just as distracted as drivers - a dangerous gamble to play with a ton of metal whisking nearby.
The Bahamas must commit to greater pedestrian safety. If we want to encourage a more active community, we have to make Nassau more amenable to pedestrians. Downtown is hardly an enjoyable place to walk or drive. People cross at any point regardless of crosswalks, and drivers are forced to stop at green lights when seemingly unaware tourist stroll into traffic. It is a frustrating experience for all.
The RBPF must continue to issue citations for traffic violations, particularly for aggressive driving which occurs outside of police checkpoints and continues to be neglected. Aggressive drivers have too much freedom and treat the highways like a race circuit. We must also install crosslights across the island that provide countdowns of time to cross the street. And in highly congested areas like Baha Mar, stoplights with pedestrian call buttons to force traffic to stop only when pedestrians are present would appease walkers and vehicles.
Pedestrians and motorists share responsibility for road safety. Yet, the overwhelming number of traffic-related deaths attributed to pedestrians is too high. Crossing the street at any time of day should not be so dangerous.