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New Orleans men stuck on island remanded in custody

Thaddeus Ramsey, left, with co-defendant Merrill Boyd, both from New Orleans (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Two New Orleans men who cried foul over being trapped in Bermuda for almost a year have been remanded in custody by Magistrates’ Court.

Merrill Boyd and Thaddeus Ramsey were accused of spinning a “false narrative” to con the public into supporting them, as well as causing their own trial delays by declining to proceed with a January court date.

Cindy Clarke, the Director of Public Prosecutions, told Magistrates’ Court that Mr Boyd and Mr Ramsey, who deny charges of conspiracy to commit a money-laundering offence, were “attempting to interfere with the course of justice by placing a false narrative to the people of Bermuda, who have seen fit to give these two defendants money for charitable purposes”.

She asked that the court revoke bail for both men, said to be set at $20,000 each.

A bail hearing was set for Thursday — but she asked to have them placed in Westgate prison until then.

Ms Clarke added that a church had offered shelter to the two and said the charity Home was assisting them with shelter.

They have maintained that they were entertainers and band managers from New Orleans who were travelling with large amounts of cash because they sought to bring the Big Six Brass Band to perform on the island last year.

New Orleans media reported last month that Mr Ramsey was stopped as he was leaving Bermuda on April 28, 2023, eight days after arriving, because he wished to attend a funeral back home.

Travellers must declare if they are carrying more than $10,000 in cash, but US Customs reportedly searched Mr Ramsey after getting suspicious, and discovered an undeclared $10,445 in cash.

He has maintained his innocence, saying he was unaware of the rule.

Mr Boyd, travelling with him, was also arrested, with the two formally charged in Magistrates’ Court last September.

Maxanne Anderson, the senior magistrate, noted during their latest court appearance that both men had been set for trial in January.

Ms Clarke replied: “The defendants asked not to proceed on that day.”

She added that Mr Boyd was allegedly found with $18,537 on his person, and claimed to Bermuda Police that he had won the cash from a fish sandwich eating contest.

“I’m sure many Bermudians would like to have a fish sandwich eating contest and make $18,000.”

Ms Clarke said that Mr Ramsey had told Bermuda authorities he had withdrawn cash in Miami because he did not have a bank account in Bermuda, and had been concerned about being able to exchange money on the island.

Ms Clarke said it was common knowledge that US cash was accepted in Bermuda.

Ms Anderson set a two-day trial for the end of this month, reserving two further dates in May, and ordered them remanded until a bail hearing on Thursday.

Lawyer Jonathan White, for the defence, argued that there was no justification for jailing the two men with “no proven breach of bail whatsoever”.

However, Ms Anderson said: “These are very serious allegations.

“Based on that, they are remanded in custody.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.