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Bid to stop deportation of convicted drug dealer

A last minute reprieve is being sought to try to stop a convicted drug dealer being deported, leaving behind his Bermudian wife and children.

Willston Davis is set to take Government to court as the Immigration Department is refusing to let him stay here with his family after serving eight years in prison.

Davis, a Jamaican national, has been served with deportation papers and is due to be taken directly to the airport when he is released from prison tomorrow.

But his wife Terry Davis believes he “has every right to be here” and “be a loving dad” to their 13-year-old twins.

Davis has served about two-thirds of his 12-year prison sentence after being found guilty of supplying crack cocaine at a children's day care centre.

He has since been praised for his good behaviour as a prisoner and always attends parents' evenings and prize-givings at his children's school.

Davis has also regularly been allowed to carry out voluntary work and has received an award for his community service.

The case of Davis versus the Ministry of National Security, which includes Immigration, looks set to be heard in court today.

An injunction is being sought to stop or at least delay Davis' deportation, but the Ministry insists “it is permissible in law and in accordance with established policy”.

Family friend Anna Ridgeway said: “It's absolutely shocking that this man is up for deportation after serving eight years.

“We can't understand why this is happening, it doesn't make sense to us, it's all very odd.

“We have repeatedly asked them to clarify under what law this decision is being taken … We are being told 'he has committed a crime against Bermuda'.

“But he's served his time, he's done two thirds of his prison sentence … You can't just assume he is going to be a danger to society.

“He's never been in trouble in prison, he really is a reformed character. His wife is at a loss and his children are devastated”.

The Immigration Department say they sent Davis a letter at the end of 2010 stating that he would be deported in November, when he had completed two-thirds of his sentence.

But Davis, who thought he was being released on parole, only received this letter about a month ago.

Immigration bosses have since met again and decided to uphold the decision to deport Mr Davis.

But Davis' family and friends question why he was moved from Westgate to The Farm at Ferry Reach if he was “supposedly a threat to the community”.

Davis has also regularly been allowed to carry out work such as sweeping the roads and picking up trash across Bermuda, and has recently won a community service award from Elliott Primary School.

His 13-year-old daughter has also written a “very emotive and passionate” letter to Immigration saying she was looking forward to spending time with her father. She wrote: “Please don't do this to my dad, he is a good man”.

The family has also reached out to Premier Paula Cox but she has told them that it's a matter for Immigration.

Mrs Ridgeway, who is also a volunteer at Westgate, said the Children's Act stated that every child had the right to be brought up by both parents. She also questions whether Davis' human rights were being breached.

Mrs Ridgeway is urging the Immigration Department to “take all the circumstances into account”.

She said: “He (Davis) has been married for 15 years, it's a loving relationship. They are happily married and they have 13-year-old twins together.

“His family visit him in prison all the time and he and his wife talk on the phone just about every day.

“He has a wonderful relationship with his children, he's obviously very close to them.

“These children have the right to be brought up by their father”.

She added: “My primary concern is for the welfare of these children. This could have serious knock-on effects … it's very cruel to put them through this”.

Davis was found guilty by a jury of handing 251 grams of crack cocaine to his girlfriend Cindy Augustus at the Vernon Temple Child Care Centre, Southampton.

The court heard that surveillance workers saw Davis supplying the drug to Augustus, a teacher at the centre, on June 5 2003 while children were present at the premises.

In court Davis was described as a married construction worker with seven children three in Bermuda and four in Jamaica and no previous convictions,

Sentencing Davis, Chief Justice Richard Ground said he considered the offence to be serious due to the amount of crack cocaine involved, and because a school was the location for the handover. He added that he had not seen the defendant show any real remorse.

Augustus was handed an eight-year sentence after admitting her part in the drug deal.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Security said: “Mr Davis' conviction for the offence of possession with intent to supply cocaine is a serious offence and the recommendation to His Excellency the Governor that he be deported from Bermuda is permissible in law and in accordance with established policy”.

The spokeswoman went on to highlight the 'special provisions relating to the landing of husbands of Bermudians' which state the conditions that a husband of a Bermudian wife is allowed to land and remain in Bermuda.

This includes; he must not have a relevant conviction recorded against him; the Minister must be satisfied that the special status husband is a person of good character and previous good conduct; and the Minister must be satisfied that the special status husband and his wife are not estranged.

Mrs Davis did not respond to requests for comment.

Facing deportation: Willston Davis, pictured in a file photograph from 2003.

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Published November 29, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated November 29, 2011 at 8:58 am)

Bid to stop deportation of convicted drug dealer

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