Too Many conch taken too many times

Conch and whelk season is now closed.

A man with a suspended sentence hanging over his head for illegally taking conch had that sentence activated when he committed two more sets of offences of the same kind.

Eladio Chesley Brown, of West Bay, was jailed for 12 months for taking marine life in the Barkers and Rum Point areas on three different occasions. The last time was on 16 Sept. 2018, after he offended on 31 May 2018.

“Nothing could persuade me to suspend his sentence after so short a time after the May offences,” Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn said last week.

“I don’t have a choice. A message must be sent,” she told attorney John Furniss, who spoke on Brown’s behalf.

The first offence occurred at Rum Point, when officers observed Brown and another man in a boat. The officers signalled for the boat to stop, but it did not. Instead, the men threw 20 conch overboard. They were arrested and pleaded guilty to taking the conch from a protected zone.

On that occasion, the magistrate told the man he was plundering the very resource he as a Caymanian should be helping to protect.

Brown, now 50, replied at the time that he had not understood but now he did. On that basis, he received a sentence of six months, suspended for two years.

In May 2018, he was found with 31 conch from a protected area.

In September, he was seen removing conch from the water and placing them in a boat. Officers found him with 43 conch and seven lobster.

The magistrate. then activated the six-month suspended sentence and imposed another six months for the second offence. When released, he will have a six-month sentence hanging over his head for the third offence, she confirmed.

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