TIP charges against local pilot dismissed

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Bartica Magistrate’s Court has dismissed 16 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) charges against local pilot Orlando Charles.The charges were dismissed against Charles on March 14 as a result of insufficient evidence.On June 1, 2023, Charles, who is also a businessman, charged with 16 counts of human trafficking and was arraigned virtually before Bartica Magistrate Christel Lambert.Charles, 45, of Main Street, Georgetown, had pleaded not guilty to the charges of human trafficking, contrary to Section 3(1i) of the Combatting of Trafficking in Persons, Act No. 2 of 2005.Police had said that between November 1, 2022 and May 18, 2023, Charles trafficked 16 Venezuelan nationals between Mazaruni riverine communities in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Georgetown.Charles was placed on $1.3 million bail.He was arraigned days after the Police had issued a wanted bulletin for him.Shortly after, he issued a statement in which he claimed, among other things, that an issue had arisen between him and the foreign nationals over the payment of wages.“I am a pilot and businessman with various construction projects countrywide. A dispute (arose) over wages with 30 persons who were either employed by me or awaiting the availability of more work with my business so they can be employed. I had nothing to do with bringing them into Guyana, nor controlling their movement or where they were employed.”He continued, “Indeed, a dispute arose with some of them over wages, and I agreed to resolve the matter to our mutual agreement, and some of the persons readily accepted the settlement while others wanted more money. The discussions with the latter are ongoing, and a reckoning was taking place. [I] will defend myself vigorously against these charges.”Charles was represented by Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin.