Penal Reform & Biographies or Docu-Drama: Can profits & repentance live happily ever after?

Sadly as the case usually is in Barbados, the hullabaloo over the release of Raul Garcia as a reformed citizen into Barbadian society has died down, I say sadly since although he is allowed to participate, at the same time – he cannot directly make money to sustain himself…

It is clear Garcia has a definite talent for Art, if you spend time so long in Jail, then skills of observation would translate - is it a crime for him to use this skill now to sustain himself while a free man with no country?

It is clear Garcia has a definite talent for Art, if you spend time so long in Jail, then skills of observation would translate – is it a crime for him to use this skill now to sustain himself while a free man with no country?

Money has to be ferried to him from Miami from his relatives, he can do Art and even have an Exhibition here, yet he is not permitted to sell his paintings. While he was in jail, it was okay for Government to profit from his readily visualised talent, from what was gleaned at the Press conference earlier this year – Garcia earned part of the proceeds while in Dodds, but he did not garner the majority.

He also wants to write a book to be a caution against younger people considering to be a Drug Mule as a means of quick cash.  Probably the book will have to be not just printed overseas but sold abroad as well, if he is to eke a living while awaiting some word on his nationality which is not necessarily Global but Non-Existent since neither Cuba nor the USA wish to acknowledge him as a citizen (this is rather ironic when USA is always looking at everyone else’s Human Rights record).

How does this sit with someone like Baroness Scotland of the UK who wants to make sure that criminals who serve their time and decide to engage in a book and/or film deal cannot profit from these ventures? What if it is the only way they can legitimately make money and not be forced into Recidivism? While visiting Barbados, this is what the Dominican-born MP had to say about convicts who turn literary or cinematographer {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

In her view, it should be unlawful if a reformed felon creates a book or movie and thus profit from their deed… She feels that surviving families should have the right to sue and gain the profits.

But what if no-one wants to employ them (or Gov’t stipulates they cannot receive wages as in Garcia’s case) and they can only make a living like this? Is such a narrow and 19th Century viewpoint truly realistic and yet we expect those who paid their debt to society to suck it up and move on? Where? Hell? That option was ruled out when the Death Penalty was shunted and it was agreed on years inside as an alternative!

What I should have asked Mme Dreifuss (LEFT) or Baroness Scotland is how do you assess a drug dealer or a mule? They do not know precisely what family was wrecked because one of their members was weak enough to go on a coke or heroin binge... How do you prove it that snort or injection came from a batch they prepared?

What I should have asked Mme Dreifuss (LEFT) or Baroness Scotland is how do you assess a drug dealer or a mule? They do not know precisely what family was wrecked because one of their members was weak enough to go on a coke or heroin binge… How do you prove it was that particular snort or injection came from a batch this fellow smuggled or that “lord” prepared?

While it is all well & good for an altruistic view such as Baroness Scotland’s, nevertheless recidivism is a very real possibility for many murderers, rapists, drug-lords or mules who genuinely want to try and be a contributing member of Society. The idea of resuming, what to them, seems to be that much harder when so-called regular society does not let these folk prove they can act differently.

The Baroness was in Barbados to convince the current regime (if any activity can be pulled from them) is to abolish the Death Penalty, what sense does this make if Barbados has not exercised this right since 1982? Also travelling with the UK envoy was a former VP of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss, who thought if Barbados could avoid using this ultimate arbitration – then it speaks to a step in the right direction {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

In her view, Barbados has not chosen to exercise this method for over three decades – this speaks to Barbados’ punitive measures being more civilised than other territories and therefore the next logical step is to remove it from their statute books.

I had pointed out that while this may seem noble, the simple reality is if a person kills a friend or loved one of mine, then I am going to want to end their life in return – yet if I face the penalty they avoided, then I will do all in my power to dodge the punishment; how do you ratify those opposing conundrums? Baroness Scotland feels counselling would help {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Acute anger can lead to revenge for many in similar circumstances, grief is also part of the process when they lose a loved one in a violent manner; but to allow the full gamut of recovery to happen so as to see that reacting in anger is the worst possible alternative.

I am afraid both the former Swiss VP & the Baroness’ visit left far more questions than answers, places that enforce the Death Penalty like China, Saudi Arabia & Texas is their crime higher or lower? Singapore has a line demarcating how far you can enter or leave their country with illegal drugs, if you are caught past that point – you can be publicly flogged, jailed or sent for Death… They have a bin where attempted mules can recant – the bin is usually almost full! Should Barbados implement a similar measure?

Would things have gone differently for Raul Garcia? As it is, he lost time in the most literal sense – cellphones and laptops were new to him as he went in from 1994 and these were not in scope at that point, just using Skype to chat with his family seemed like Science Fiction to him!

Honestly, for me, a stipulation that Raul Garcia may not have a job and earn money while in Barbados is a riiculous term for his release... Especially since Barbados dropped the ball on his initial conviction - how can you penalise a man once free? You did not deport him once convicted (USA and UK are quick enough to deport a felon once they hear he's go Caribbean roots) so why can he not seek to carve out an honest living for a change? I understand he used to be restaurateur, why not let him do Cuban cuisine and compete with Havana before they open their doors and their tourism product diminishes ours even further?

Honestly, for me, a stipulation that Raul Garcia may not have a job and earn money while in Barbados is a riiculous term for his release… Especially since Barbados dropped the ball on his initial conviction – how can you penalise a man once free? You did not deport him once convicted (USA and UK are quick enough to deport a felon once they hear he’s got Caribbean roots) so why can he not seek to carve out an honest living for a change? I understand he used to be a restaurateur, so why not let him do Cuban cuisine and compete with Havana before they open their doors and their tourism product diminishes ours even further?

Because the USA is so rigid in its Immigration policies, he’s now unable to personally visit his father who’s on his last legs – Raul shed tears over his wasted period which prevented him from being near when he felt needed most… One wonders if the USA would deny Nelson Mandela entry as he spent 27 years as a convict? After the Travyon Martin tragedy and travesty, somehow I would not be that surprised?

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