INDEPENDENT Liberal Party (ILP) Local Government elections candidate Kerwin Bucchan, who is in prison after being slapped with seven gun-related charges, has served a one-year jail sentence in the United States, prior to being deported to Trinidad in 2005.
Records obtained from Interpol revealed Bucchan was imprisoned by a judge in the city of New York in 2004 and after being sentenced to one year in prison was ordered to be deported to this country upon his release in 2005.
After returning to Trinidad, Bucchan of Coconut Drive, Morvant went into business and opened a fabricating company. The charges in the United States were for gun-related offences which led to his imprisonment.
Police sources revealed yesterday that the Taurus pistol and ammunition seized from Bucchan on Tuesday is an illegal firearm. At a political rally on Thursday in San Juan, ILP interim leader Jack Warner — a former National Security Minister — said as far as the Local Government election goes, Bucchan is still the ILP’s candidate and until otherwise proven by the courts, he (Bucchan) is innocent.
Bucchan, the candidate for the Morvant district in the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, was remanded into custody until October 10, pending tracing by Interpol after he appeared before a Chaguanas magistrate on Thursday to answer to charges of shooting with intent and possession of arms and ammunition.
Bucchan, 38, appeared before Chaguanas Magistrate Bramanand Dubay, to answer to three counts of shooting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and two counts of possession of a Taurus pistol and 12 rounds of ammunition. He was remanded into custody to return to court on October 10.
A person is disqualified from serving as a local government councillor if they have been imposed with a criminal conviction involving a sentence of more than twelve months by a Trinidad and Tobago court.
According section 11 (8) (d) of the Municipal Corporations Act, “A person is disqualified from being a councillor if he — (d) is under sentence of death or is serving a sentence of imprisonment exceeding twelve months imposed on him by a Court of competent jurisdiction in Trinidad and Tobago or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a Court or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended.” The Act is silent on a situation where a sentence is imposed in a foreign court. The Representation of the People Act is also silent on the issue.
Persons convicted of election offences, as well as holders of specific offices, are barred under that legislation.
The Act states a person qualifies once they are over 18 years of age; are a citizen and lived in the country for a period of at least two months immediately preceding the qualifying date in that electoral district or has rented any house in the area and is able to speak, unless blind.