Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The male exotic dancers of Fort Lauderdale, Florida were this afternoon, July 24, reprimanded and discharged for illegally entering the Territory. The men, Asa Ambrister, 37, a native of the Bahamas; and Andre Baker, 37, Reginald Billins, 46 and Alesian Rolle, all natives of the United States pleaded guilty yesterday to entering the Territory illegally.
However, entertainment organizer, Denise Stanley, 37 of Tortola was remanded to the Her Majesty's Prison and will be sentenced on August 2. She pleaded guilty to the charge of harbouring illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, Stanley's friend, Je'Neal Furett, 35 of the USVI was fined $500.00 or 30 days in prison for illegally entering the Territory. She had also pleaded guilty.
The sentences were handed down by Magistrate Tamia Richards.
During their arraignment yesterday, the men claimed that they were led to believe that they were in the Territory legally by the organizers of the shows they were scheduled to perform at this past weekend.
"We came to make a little money, but we were deceived...We were told that we are here legally. I want to apologize to my crew [other three men] since they trusted me...I would never jeopardize my family and life for a little money and come here illegal. I apologize for the disrespect caused to your country," Reginald Billins told the court on July 23.
Billins was among the six persons arrested over the weekend in what Police termed as an 'entertainment scheme'.
At yesterday's hearing, Senior Crown Counsel Christlyn Benjamin said Stanley is a native of the BVI and resides at Cane Garden Bay. Furett is a friend of Stanley.
Benjamin said investigations revealed that the men were expected to perform as exotic dancers in early July 2012 and Stanley made an application to the Labour Department for work permits for the men to come to the BVI to work and perform as exotic dancers. However, she said the application was denied and the Labour Department duly informed Stanley about their decision.
The Prosecutor said investigations revealed that Stanley went ahead and organized the show and various posters were prepared advertising "ladies night out, exotic male review". The shows were to take place at Drakes Point Hotel, formally known as Fort Burt and at The Wedding in Cane Garden Bay.
Benjamin said Stanley made contacts with Billins and told him that permits were granted and everything was in order for the show. She said various arrangements were made for them to travel from Florida to St. Thomas. On Arrival in St. Thomas, they were met by Stanley and Furett, and there arrangements were made for them to travel from Red Hook to Tortola via speed boat.
She told the court that on Friday, they arrived at West End and Stanley directed the captain to sail the boat to Pusser's dock at Frenchman's Cay where they all disembarked. Stanley then took the men's passports and returned it to them at the dock, assuring them that everything was safe. She then checked them into a hotel in Cane Garden Bay.
L-R: JeNeal Furett of the USVI and entertainment organizer Denise Stanley.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Benjamin said investigations revealed that they were able to perform the Friday night and as a result, Police went in search of them. They met Alesian Rolle, Andre Baker and Je'Neal Furett in Cane Garden Bay, while they met Stanley, Asa Ambrister and Billins at Stanley's apartment.
Following checks, it was revealed that the defendants' passports had no BVI entry stamp.
All the men apologized to the court for what took place and pleaded to be returned home to their families. All of the men are fathers and one is married [Bellins].
Rolle said he came to make money for his children and Bellins briefly mentioned that they were not paid for their services by the organizer, and noted that it's $200.00 per person on each night. "We have like $7.00 to our name right now."
Furett, who said she is an office manager for a senator, said she went into the situation blindly, since she had no knowledge of any work permit issue. She said what she did was wrong by coming in the BVI illegally, but she just wanted to get away from home for a little bit.
Meanwhile, the organizer, Stanley apologized to the court and Labour Department.
"I sincerely apologize. I ask for your mercy and for some leniency towards me. I have four kids and they depend on me since I am single...I didn't mean any harm," Stanley said.