Ten months of horror - Jamaican held in Colombia wants to come home

June 01, 2020

When Dale-Anthony Johnson left his home in Crawford Galleon Beach in St Elizabeth on his regular fishing trip last August, little did he know that his hope of returning home was uncertain. He has been stranded in Colombia for several months now. A vessel he was aboard ventured into the waters of the South American country.

"We were on our way back home when the driving shaft broke and the boat started drifting. The Colombian coast guards, who claim we were fishing in their waters, locked us up," Johnson told THE STAR.

Johnson, 23, said he was among a 29-man crew comprising 24 Jamaicans and five Dominicans on the boat, which was intercepted by the Colombian authorities. He said that 25 persons were released but the authorities held on to him and three other men from the Dominican Republic.

International laws

"We are here over nine months with nobody giving us any form of comfort as to when we are going home. We got a lawyer and he got us out of jail from November 5 last year, and we have only been to court one time," he said. "I contacted foreign affairs in Jamaica several times and they keep telling me there is nothing they can do, they can't interfere with international laws."

"I just want my government to reach out to Colombia and investigate our case and find out what is going on because I have gone to every possible source. The only person I haven't spoken to is the governor, but everybody else say they can't do anything," Johnson said.

He added: "Nobody cares about me, I have no friends, no family, nothing! It is just a good Samaritan lady helping. She put me up and give a little food, and at this point the lady is exhausted too."

Attempts to contact Jamaica's foreign minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, proved futile up to press time yesterday. In the meantime, Johnson's family members here in Jamaica are worried sick about him.

"It not easy for me because him used to help me out to do anything I have to do, like provide in the home. I really need him back home because I don't even understand why him over there so long when everybody else come home," his common-law wife, Carolyn Lewis, told THE STAR.

Hemin Gayle, Johnson's mother, said her son is someone who can always be relied upon for assistance.

"Me miss him because when me want anything me can call pon him and send him anywhere. Even sometime me nuh wah call him because when him a talk to me it sound like him wah cry and it makes me feel so down. And him always a remember him little son and talk about him a lot, and that especially make him feel sad," Gayle said.

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