NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Among curfew violators arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday were some who claimed they broke the emergency orders to get food.
The government implemented a nationwide shutdown over the weekend.
Jeffrey Pierre and Robinson Paul who were arrested shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday near Marigold Farm off Joe Farrington Road appeared before Magistrate Derrence Rolle-Davis and both plead guilty to violating the lockdown.
The prosecution said Pierre told police during his interview that he was going to get something to eat from his friend’s mother.
He told the court that he had just moved into the apartment and was very hungry and thirsty.
“That was the only option I had”, Pierre said.
He advised Rolle-Davis that he works at a tire shop and car wash and his job had been on and off.
He was fined $300 for breaking the curfew and given 14-days to pay it.
The prosecution said when Paul was stopped by police, he told officers that he was going to the shop for water.
He reportedly told officers that he was coming from home and going to a nearby convenience store to water for his son.
Paul said he asked officers to allow him to take him to his home to see his son or even take him to the convenience store where he had planned to buy the water from.
Rolle-Davis joked that he couldn’t understand why police didn’t let him show them where the store was, given that it shouldn’t have been opened during the lockdown.
The judge told Pierre: “This a very expensive water”.
He was charged $500 and given 15 days to pay.
Tony Bethel and Lenward Gibson also appeared before the magistrate on charges of violating the lockdown.
The prosecution said police responded to a reports on Saturday that there was a gathering at a residence in the Fox Hill area.
When officers went to the house, the owner Lettamae Major told officers all the persons present in the home were residents.
Officers left but later returned to the house after a second report.
This time, they questioned both Bethel and Gibson, who admitted that they did not in fact live at the residence.
Bethel told officers he lived around the corner and was there trying to get some food to eat.
When asked by Rolle-Davis whether he had food at home, he said “not really”.
Bethel said he does not work at the moment.
He was find $600 or 30 days imprisonment.
As for Gibson, he told officers that while he lives “around the bend” he was at the house to take food items to Major, who is a senior citizen.
Gibson told the court he received a coupon for groceries from his member of Parliament and used it to get some items for the elderly woman.
He said he had it in his possession for a few days and was trying to gather extra funds to get more items but was unable to make it to Major before the beginning of the nationwide lockdown.
He said when he went there the next day they got caught up having a conversation.
Gibson was fined $800 or 40 days in prison.
He advised Rolle-Davis that he is out of a job and would only be able to pay $150 per month.
The country remains in a 24-hour curfew for the week, with essential services and businesses opened, but will head back into a nationwide lockdown during the weekend.