THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is an open letter to Dr Stephen Vasciannie, Jamaica, ambassador to the United States
AS YOU are aware, America is in the throes of a very close election that could go either way. Should President Obama lose at the polls, the fate of a Jamaican national, Tyrone Williams (no relation of mine), will be in his hands.
You are likely familiar with Mr Williams' case. In 2011, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a United States district judge in Houston, Texas, for the crime of transporting illegal aliens across the Mexican border, some of whom suffocated and died.
As an attorney by training yourself, I think you will agree that by no standard of justice in this country was this a wilful or malicious criminal act by Mr Williams. Clearly, he did not hold a gun to anyone's head and force them into the back of his rig.
Indeed, one could make the case that there were exculpatory factors that may or may not have been considered at trial. These include the possibility that Mr Williams does not speak fluent Spanish, thus precluding effective communication with his passengers. Or, he genuinely believed the perils they faced in that airtight compartment were not as bad as things turned out. One thing is sure: the worse 'crime' Mr Williams was guilty of was that of bad judgement, and it is noteworthy that, at his trial, he expressed genuine remorse for what happened.
Jamaicans everywhere who followed the case also felt the pain of our Mexican brothers and sisters who suffered in this terrible ordeal, and we continue to reach out to the affected families with heartfelt sympathy for what happened. I hope they have it in their hearts to embrace a Jamaican precept: To err is human; to forgive, divine.
I write this letter specifically to ask that you take the necessary measures to secure a presidential pardon for Mr Williams should the occasion that would make that eventuality possible present itself.
Errol L. Williams, MBA
Certified Public Accountant