James O’Rourke reprimanded and discharged. (Picture by Xtra Vision Photography.)
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BRITISH NATIONAL James O’Rourke is singing the praise of technology today.
But he is nowhere near that effusive in his praise of Barbados and its people after a brush with the law and a night in prison.
“I would never come back to Barbados in my life. You could not pay me £10 million. I have been abused and discriminated. It is disgusting,” he said yesterday.
O’Rourke, a 44-year-old managing director who was staying at Sandals Royal, in Dover, Christ Church, but who hails from Willenhall, West Midlands, England, was looking back on the events that led to him appearing in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court on Monday and again yesterday.
He had pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman and resisting Constable Shaquille McClean, all on May 19, and was remanded to HMP Dodds.
When he returned yesterday, Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant reprimanded and discharged him and told him he was free to go.
This was his first visit to the island and he leaves today.
O’Rourke later told the NATION his release was due, in no small measure, to the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the incident which occurred in the Sol Top Rock Service Station.
He said he had been warned about “the local women, whether they were Jamaican that come over here”, that they “trap the white men and try to extort money.
“And this was the perfect example of what happened. Thank God the technology has proven that I am an innocent man and I was released immediately because that jail was a dangerous place,” he declared.
“So thank the Lord for the CCTV because . . . I was released immediately.”
The English businessman said the night of the incident was the first time in seven days he had left the all-inclusive Sandals Royal. He added that all he was going for was money and cigarettes. The nearest ATM was in that service station.
O’Rourke said it was to his confusion and dismay that he realised the machine only dispensed Barbadian money. By that time he had withdrawn $500.
It was then, he said, that “one black lady” started harassing him for money.
“I handed her $50 just to purely leave me alone. I then went to the counter to buy cigarettes and they were still harassing me, asking me for money,” he said.
O’Rourke noted he paid for his cigarettes and “the motion of my hand, she claimed I slapped her behind”.
He claimed he was insulted, charged and then tossed into a cell for a number of hours before being released. He added he turned up for court not knowing what to expect, but was told to plead guilty because the charges were “misdemeanours”.
So it was the greatest shock, O’Rourke said, when he was ordered remanded. He described the hours in jail as the worst of his life.
All this time there was no representative from the British High Commission in court, he lamented.
He, however, credited attorney Harry Husbands with getting him released after investigating the events of that night.