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Straw Vendors Wait For Their Day in US Court

The Bahaman straw vendors who are cooling their heels in a New York prison will have to wait a little longer for their day in court.

Brent Symonette, DPM and Minister of Foreign Affairs for The Bahamas, told a local newspaper that the vendors have been charged, but he did not know the date for their main court hearing.  This usually occurs within 30 days of an arrest.

The court has appointed lawyers for the nine vendors. The lawyers will be paid by the State of New York.

The Bahamians were arrested on September 15th as they waited to board a Jet Blue flight back to Nassau after shopping in New York City for counterfeit designer bags and jewellery that they intended to sell at their Straw Market stalls back home.

They were charged with conspiracy to defraud the US by the trafficking of counterfeit goods. They could face a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Except for one of the women who was able to meet her bond requirements, the vendors are being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in south Manhattan.

The vendors: Roshanda Rolle, Gayle Rolle, Marva Ferguson, Marvette Ferguson, Patricia Hanna, Shamone Thompson, Margaret Pierre, Judy Duncombe and Tracy Davis – have all admitted to having knowledge that the goods they purchased were counterfeit and/or illegal.

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