Cruise passengers fined for ganja

Two cruise ship passengers who arrived in Grand Cayman last week Tuesday didn’t leave with their ship.

When the Enchantment of the Seas departed that evening, Brittany Anne Pitts-Day and Joseph James Termini were in custody for importation of ganja.

The two appeared in Summary Court on Friday.

Pitts-Day, 25, was held at the West Bay lock-up; Termini, 21, was kept at the George Town Police Station.

Both are American citizens, residing in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said she was taking into account the fact that they had spent four days in custody when she imposed a fine of $500 each for the ganja and $250 each for importation of a ganja pipe.

She also ordered them to pay $125 each in costs.

Asked whose idea it was to travel with ganja and a pipe, Termini said he bought the pipe after their ship stopped in Jamaica.

He said vendors were chasing them in the market place.

The magistrate added that the pipes were freely sold there, ‘leading some stupid tourists to believe they were legal.’

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn handed up a summary of facts leading to the charges. An officer on duty in a neighbourhood near downtown George Town saw Pitts-Day in the company of a known drug offender.

The officer spoke to her and she indicated that her companion was a friend and they had known each other about a week. This aroused the officer’s suspicions, since he had asked her name and learned she was a passenger on a ship that had docked that day.

He was unable to prevent her from going with the known drug offender. However, based on his suspicions, permission was sought from the captain to board the ship.

The security officer on board paged Pitts-Day several times, but received no answer. Cayman officers were then escorted to her cabin. On their arrival, only Termini was present.

Officers found some ganja stalks on a counter top and in a garbage bin. They also found a wooden ganja pipe with partially burned ganja in it.

Later, Pitts-Day came into the room. A search was requested and officers found in her purse a plastic wrapping of ganja. She and Termini were arrested and cautioned, taken to shore and booked into custody.

Interviewed the next day, Termini said the stalks were part of the ganja purchased in Jamaica. He denied smoking ganja in Cayman waters, but said he thought he had cleaned the pipe since their arrival here. He said he did not realise ganja was taken so seriously here.

Pitts-Day also said the ganja and pipe had been purchased in Jamaica and smoked en route to Cayman.

Ms Gunn said there had not been time for laboratory analysis of the ganja, but its weight was estimated at five grams.

The magistrate said the lab report was not necessary because the defendants’ admissions were sufficient evidence.

Defence Attorney Phillip McGhee said Pitt-Days’ experience had been particularly unpleasant because she was without a prescription medicine and had to be taken to hospital while in custody.

At West Bay, the running water supply was not what it should be, he said. ‘She has suffered much by way of consequences already.’

He said she had cooperated fully with officers and now realised her stupidity.

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