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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, addressing the press at??Ilaro Court yesterday. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

Any solution that is found to address Raul Garcia’s plight will be done with national security issues at the forefront.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave this undertaking yesterday while fielding questions from a team of journalists at the end of a tour of Ilaro Court by 47 campers from Unique Helping Hands Summer Camp.

When questioned about the 57-year-old who completed his 20-year prison sentence two years ago for a number of cocaine-related charges, the Prime Minister pointed out: "I intend no injustice to Mr. Garcia, but I have to make sure that the national security of Barbados is properly protected.?? I do not think that he should be held at Dodds prison indefinitely."

In light of this situation, Mr. Stuart also disclosed there were complications about the Cuban’s immigration status. "We are having some difficulty in finding a country that will take him. Mr. Garcia is a Cuban national, but Cuban law does not allow Cuba, in the present circumstances, to take Mr. Garcia.?? He has been connected with the USA and they are not pushing everybody aside to take him.?? He has had connections with Colombia and they are not enthusiastic about taking him.?? So, he is here in Barbados," he underlined.

Mr. Stuart further explained that he had received representations from Mr. Garcia’s attorney-at-law David Comissiong, indicating "that private arrangements could be made for Mr. Garcia to be accommodated at a private residence in a rural parish where this [rural family] is prepared to take him at no cost to the Government and they are prepared to take him on such terms as are satisfactory to me".

The Prime Minister added: "The alternative to this would be for government to ready some kind of accommodation where Mr. Garcia could be held in a manner consistent with what the Government considers to be safe and with no national security considerations."

In fact, Mr. Stuart said he must think about "all of the other considerations that would be attached to putting [Mr. Garcia] at a private facility [and] managed by a family…because the nature of the offence for which he was convicted is an offence that would have grave implications for Barbados had he not been nabbed and prosecuted".

Mr. Garcia was convicted in 1994.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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