Tuesday, October 6, 2009

U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns and Rep. Jason Chaffetz Announce Deal with Antiguan Officials to Bring Home Detained New Yorkers

Only days after U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (NY-10) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) embarked upon a diplomatic mission to seek the release of six New Yorkers who were detained in Antigua for more than a month, the Congressmen today announced that Antiguan authorities released the six.

Rep. Towns stated, “I am pleased to report that after several productive conversations with the Antiguan Charge d’Affaire, the Antiguan Ambassador and the Antiguan Prime Minister, the six young Brooklynites are now released and will return home safely. I appreciate the cooperation of the Antiguan government and their efforts to work with me in creating an atmosphere to resolve this matter in a timely and fair manner. I also thank Rep. Chaffetz for supporting this important mission.”

I am glad we could help accelerate the process. It is great to see these young people coming home,” said Rep. Chaffetz. “This is not normally what happens when you visit Antigua, but it is important that we could work with Antiguan officials to bring these people home.”

The deal potentially ends a torturous journey for Brooklyn residents Joshua Jackson, Shoshonnah Henry, Rachel Henry, Nancy Lalanne, Dolores Lalanne and Mike Pierre-Paul. Today’s announcement caps nearly two weeks of behind the scenes negotiations between Rep. Towns and Antiguan authorities over the fate of the six New Yorkers. The young men and women from Brooklyn initially faced up to two years in jail after being arrested as a result of an altercation with plain clothes Antiguan police officers. The six were released under a deal that the Congressmen helped broker. Originally facing several assault, battery and malicious damage charges, the deal called for the six to plead guilty to lesser charges and pay fines totaling nearly $3,600.