Second American drug dealer set free from custody

Third suspect remains in Cayman prison

A man who took pictures of himself, his brother and his brother’s fiance with bags of ganja, cocaine and a bumper sticker that read “I’d rather go to Hell than to work” has been released from the Cayman Islands prison where he was sent in 2007 on drugs-related convictions.  

The decision to remit Anthony Wayne Watson’s 15-year prison sentence in June 2013, after he served just six years of it, came as a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. The sentence remission was ordered by former Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor prior to his departure from the islands to take up an ambassador’s post with the U.K. in Mexico.  

Watson’s sentence of 15 years was based on convictions for possession of cocaine with intent to supply (two counts), consumption of cocaine (one count), possession of ganja (three counts), and consumption of ganja (three counts).  

In addition to remitting Mr. Watson’s sentence, the court also ordered that he pay a confiscation order of $20,000 within six months of his release from prison or serve another six months in lockup.  

Cindy Jo Hair, who is engaged to Watson’s brother Thomas, said she wasn’t sure why Thomas Watson had not also been let go at the same time.  

“It is just crazy how Tom and Anthony had the same sentence and they are changing things now,” Ms Hair said Monday. “They’re just going to deport him [referring to Tom] anyway, I don’t understand why they didn’t send them both back [to the US]. 

“We’re going to get married as soon as [Tom] gets back.”  

Ms Hair, who went to prison in Cayman in 2007, was given a 10-year prison sentence for her role in the ganja-cocaine bust. She was released from her sentence in February 2012 after serving the mandatory 5/9ths of the term. 

That release also followed the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy and was approved by then-Governor Taylor. 

Governor Taylor’s office said any decision to order the early release of a prisoner under the prerogative of mercy is published in the Cayman Islands gazette. Both Ms Hair and Anthony Watson’s release were published following their respective release dates. Any early releases recommended by the committee and assented to by the governor prior to 2012 previously have not been made public, largely because legal requirements and procedures for the committee’s operation were only finalized last year.  

The release of Ms Hair’s case details is a first for the Cayman Islands. “Any decision by the governor to grant a pardon/respite/remission will be gazetted and therefore be public knowledge,” according to a statement from Mr. Taylor’s office sent to the Caymanian Compass. “The workings of the committee and any rejections of applications for mercy will remain confidential.  

“The rejections are likely to hugely outnumber the former, as pardons will only (be) granted for truly exceptional circumstances.”  

Anthony Watson’s case differed slightly from Cindy Jo Hair’s in that Anthony Watson had not served 5/9ths of his sentence and was actually released for medical reasons.  

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