- Published on Monday, 13 May 2013 03:46
- Written by Karyl Walker —Jamaica Observer
- Hits: 911
THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has begun a probe into the status of Jamaican cyclist Horace McFarlane who has been languishing in a Trinidadian prison since September last year.
McFarlane was arrested and slapped with cocaine and ganja charges after Trinidadian police raided a house where he had gone to visit a female friend. He and two others were arrested.
But Kerrian Graham, the mother of McFarlane's son, believes that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and fears that he will not get a fair trial as he complained of being verbally abused by police because of his nationality.
"He had gone there to take part in a road race. He has been to Trinidad more than once as a cyclist and never has he been found with anything. He does not sell drugs and we, his loved ones, are afraid that he will not get a fair trial as we know that Trinidadians don't particularly like Jamaicans," a worried-looking Graham told the Jamaica Observer.
The foreign affairs ministry was not aware that McFarlane was arrested in the twin-island republic until it was contacted by the Sunday Observer.
"Having been informed of the case, we have checked with the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago and have been informed that Mr McFarlane is in the maximum security prison in Arouca. We have since begun our investigations," head of public relations at the ministry, Ann-Margaret Lim, told the Sunday Observer.
McFarlane is jointly charged along with American Devon Scotland and Trinidadian Afeisha Khan for possession of 1.060 grams of cocaine and 300 grams of marijuana.
The three were arrested during a joint police exercise conducted in Freeport and Chaguanas.
Graham said that she managed to speak to McFarlane, whom she said told her that he had gone to visit the woman when cops barged into the house in search of her nephew, who was wanted by them.
"He said no drugs were found on him, but some was found inside the house where he was just a visitor. He said as soon as the police found out he was Jamaican they handcuffed him and started to curse him and tell him that Jamaicans were not wanted in their country," she said.
McFarlane and his two co-accused appeared before Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes in the Couva Magistrate's Court in October and were remanded in custody.
According to Graham, he has not been taken back to court since.
"He has since got a lawyer after the Jamaica Cycling Federation heard of his plight and reached out to assist. However, we are still cautious about how fairly he will be treated by the Trinidadian justice system," she said.
McFarlane won the gold medal at the 2001 Caribbean Road Championships in Aruba last year and finished second in the Blisset Memorial Race. In 2011, he finished third at the National Time Trial Championship in Montego Bay, St James.
He has also competed in the World Championships and has taken part in road races in other Caribbean countries.
"It is very sad what has happened to him and we are just hoping that he will be given a chance to clear his name. He is a very good father," Graham said.
Efforts to contact the Trinidad and Tobago prison service were unsuccessful as a telephone number advertised on its website http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.tt rang without an answer.