Busting U.S. cruise passengers for small amounts of pot is big business for the customs officers in Bermuda. It’s a topic we have written about often.
The cases all seem the same. When the cruise guests go ashore, the customs officers board the ship with their sniffer dogs and conduct warrant-less searches without probable cause. They even request the ship security personnel to open up the safes in the cabins. A gram or two brings a $500 or so fine which the passengers pay with a credit card to avoid the threatened three month jail sentence.
This week, a newspaper in Bermuda reports that a U.S. passenger, age 25, "Chelsea," arrived in Bermuda on NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway. The customs officers found 2 grams of marijuana in her cabin’s safe. A man who shared her cabin (apparently her boyfriend) said the pot was his, but that didn’t stop the police from handcuffing Chelsea and hauling her off to jail.
Chelsea claims that she was suffering from pain due to the cuffs and asked for relief several times from one of the officers. The newspaper says that after the arresting officer "repeatedly ignored her cries of pain," intimating that the officer intentionally tried to hurt her by twisting the middle part of the handcuffs, Chelsea cursed the officer saying:.
“You f***ing stupid b***h. You’re hurting me, you b***h.”
This outburst led to the prosecutors charging her with "violently resisting arrest."
The presiding judge, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner, scoffed at the charges pointing out that the woman did not become violent and cursed only after she was ignored when she complained of pain.
The prosecutors introduced no evidence on the resisting arrest charge.
Magistrate Warner then fined Chelsea $500 for the pot. You can read about Magistrate Warner in these articles:
People ask me, why do you care if cruise stoners get fined?
The problem is that Bermuda has a strange sense of priorities. It delights in small time pot busts of vacationers with a cigarette or two in the cabin safe to be smoked for recreational use on the high seas, an issue the cruise line security should deal with. But rapes or violent shipboard crimes? Bermuda is indifferent to prosecuting rapists and criminals on Bermuda flagged ships.
Compare Bermuda’s madness with the customs policy in Canada toward cruise ships. For a period of a year or so, customs officers in Halifax, Canada arrested four crew members and cruise passengers with child pornography on their computers. All of them served jail time. A good use of Canadian customs and judicial resources.
But in Bermuda, you’ll never see a cruise rapist, pedophile or child porn pervert arrested by police or customs officers or sentenced by Magistrate Warner. There’s no money to be made in arresting real criminals.
Photo Credit: Bermuda Sun
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