Unwillingness to pay damages remains without consequences

More than a year after her conviction, Saban Magaly Barnes has not yet transferred a cent of the US $20,661 that she has to pay to her stepmother by order of the judge. Barnes wrought havoc on her stepmother’s studio apartment while her stepmother was in Colombia for cancer treatment.

“I have nothing left, everything is broken,” said Maria Ozorio Barnes (45).

Thirteen years ago, she left Santo Domingo for Saba to start a life on the island with her Saban husband. “When I heard from the doctors that I have cancer, my husband left me,” Ozorio said. “He said, ‘What should I do with a sick woman?”‘ Her husband left for Santo Domingo and she was left alone in Saba. The couple has no children.

Ozorio has been living in a tiny apartment in The Bottom for several years now. Since her husband’s departure, she has had little contact with his family on the island, Ozorio said. “I have some friends nearby who help me.”

The door to the studio and the window were broken, apartment rampaged.

She was sent to Colombia for cancer treatment. During her hospital stay there, neighbours in Saba were startled by noise. They called the police. The court record shows that there was burglary, damage to the apartment and destruction of property. It has been established that Magaly Barnes, Ozorio’s step­daughter, smashed the window of Ozorio’s apartment with a hammer and crawled in through this window. In her stepmoth­er’s room she broke mirrors, plates, glasses and cut mattress, pillows, bedding, and clothing with a sharp object. The tel­evision set, microwave and the bathroom and kitchen cabinets were also damaged.

Ozorio says she does not know why her stepdaughter de­stroyed her apartment. “Who does such a thing?” she says. “When I came back from Colombia and saw the damage, I couldn’t believe it everything was broken. I fell into a deep depression; I cried a lot.” The police put Ozorio in touch with Victim Support.

The lawsuit against Magaly Barnes was filed in March last year. The judge ruled on October 20, 2020. Barnes was banned from contact and was ordered to pay damages totalling US $20,661. The judge based his ruling, among other things, on a quote from a construction company for the repair of the kitch­en, for $9,016.

Barnes, who works as a government janitor in Saba, stated that she was not financially able to pay the damages. The prosecutor then agreed to a monthly payment of $100. Since the judge’s ruling, Barnes has not fulfilled her payment obligation.

“We are aware of the situation,” the Prosecutor wrote on July 2 in response to questions from Ozorio’s attorney Geert Hatz­mann. The problem, according to the prosecutor, is that there are no debt collectors in Saba (and St. Eustatius). “At this point I don’t have an answer to this.”

Hatzmann considers it incomprehensible that his client who is entitled to damages is not compensated. “If you have cancer and must fight for your life, you’ve got your share of misery. And then this happens,” said Hatzmann. The lawyer continues to insist that the authorities in Saba cooperate by withholding part of the convicted person’s salary.

The Daily Herald.

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5 comments

  1. Why doesn’t the “government” garnish her wages ? She reportedly works for the government. Its a lost cause anyway. At 100$ per month , it will take over 17 years to pay off the judgement w/o interest. I believe in Karma.

    • From $9016 to $20,661 I wonder hhmmmm karma

      • Poor reading comprehension. The $9000 estimate was just to repair the kitchen damages. The other money is for the damaged property other than the kitchen. I’m assuming that appliances and cabinets were also destroyed. My kitchen cost me over $30 thousand 15 years ago. There is no excuse in the world for what has happened.

  2. It is bad publicity for the island if someone convicted by a judge can stay a civil servant.
    Furthermore, everybody is asking why does the government not pay for the damages and thus taking over – temporary – the debt of the convict. They have more power to get the money back, than any private person.

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