Attorney renews call for hostel to assist released convicts
The Nov. 13 burglary of Caribbean Bakery in Mount Pleasant netted the intruder $25 worth of food, including sugar buns, banana bread and cookies. The damage caused by the unlawful entry cost $100 to repair.
Crown counsel Neil Kumar provided these details in explaining the charge to which James Blair Ebanks pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
Defense attorney John Furniss confirmed that the burglary was committed for food. He said Ebanks had recently come out of prison; his earnings from prison had sustained him for a short time. Then he was unable to find work.
Besides the nuisance aspect of the burglary, the country will be faced with the considerable expense of keeping Ebanks in custody again. [The most recent figure available is $64,241 per prisoner per year (Cayman Compass, June 9, 2014).]
Mr. Furniss said requests previously had been made in the courts for not just a halfway house, but a secure hostel. This would be a place men could reside with a curfew and be locked up at night, but work would be found for them during the day – even manual labor, such as keeping places clean. This arrangement would be a lot less expensive than keeping them in prison, he maintained.
Ebanks, now 50, committed this latest burglary around 4:30 a.m. Mr. Kumar said a woman was walking in the area at the time and saw a figure in the doorway of the bakery. As she got closer, she realized that the person had a crowbar in his hand. She kept walking to the house of someone she knew and from there the bakery owner was notified and police were called. The owner arrived before the police and saw the intruder as he ran from the scene.
Ebanks was arrested five days later, at which time he was found to have consumed ganja and cocaine and was in possession of a small amount of ganja and a utensil for consuming cocaine. He remained in custody since then.
Magistrate Grace Donalds dealt with this case because she had sentenced Ebanks on Sept. 18, 2014 for two burglaries committed in 2012. That sentence was two years’ imprisonment with six months suspended, during which time he was to be supervised and attend counseling. Because of various periods in custody between the 2012 offenses and the 2014 sentencing, Ebanks was out of prison within a short time.
The magistrate activated the six months that had been suspended and imposed six months for the bakery burglary. Ebanks received six months concurrent for the drug offenses, for a total of 12 months. Time on remand will be taken into account and deducted.
Besides the nuisance aspect of the burglary, the country will be faced with the considerable expense of keeping Ebanks in custody again.