A Filipina housekeeper, who went for a run outside of the prescribed hours during the weekend lockdown, has to pay a $2,000 fine or spend nine months in prison.
Police arrested Helen Lacar, 41, of West Bay Street, when she jogged past the Cable Beach Police Station at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.
Lacar pleaded guilty yesterday to violating the lockdown intended to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus when she appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney.
The lockdown order confines all residents to their homes, unless they are traveling to and from work at an essential business. However, exercise is permitted between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. during the lockdown.
Lacar told the court, “I went for a jog. I was not aware of the exercising rules. It was an honest oversight.”
Prosecuting Sergeant 2790 Wynette McPhee told the court that WPC 800 Culmer was on duty at the station when she saw Lacar run past.
Culmer called out to Lacar then arrested and cautioned her, the court heard.
McKinney appeared shocked at the boldness of the breach.
He asked, “You jogged past the police station during the lockdown?”
Lacar replied, “Yes, sir. I am so sorry.”
The court wasn’t moved by her apology or reason and McKinney imposed his stiffest fine ever.
Lacar said, “Right now, I don’t have money like that. I’m just a housekeeper.”
After consulting her boss, Lacar said she could pay $500 of the fine. She has until May 29 to pay the remainder.
Also appearing in the same court was 24-year-old Teran Sweeting.
Officers on patrol arrested Sweeting for breaking the curfew and drug possession.
He pleaded guilty.
Police arrested Sweeting, 24, as he walked along Shrimp Road around 12:05 a.m. on May 10.
Sweeting told the officers that his baby’s mother wasn’t feeling well and he went to check on her.
When they searched him, they found two grams of marijuana in his front pocket.
Sweeting’s lawyer Robin Lynes claimed that many people were unaware that they needed to call 311 for permission to leave home.
Lynes told the court she was unaware of this until recently when police stopped her as she headed to church.
McKinney fined Sweeting $1,500 or six months in prison for breaking the curfew. The court didn’t convict him of the drug charge. Instead, the magistrate placed him on probation for six months. If he gets into trouble during this period, he will have to pay a $300 fine to avoid a month-long prison stay.
Eusias Bodie, of Pastel Gardens, broke the curfew on May 12 at 9:43 p.m.
In court, he told the magistrate he had lost track of time while visiting relatives.
But McPhee said he told arresting officers that he was on the streets to buy a soda.
Bodie has to pay a $1,000 fine or face six months in prison.
Anthorn Ferguson and Edner Joseph were arrested around 9:40 p.m. on May 13.
They told the magistrate and police that they were in search of food.
McKinney fined them each $500 or three months in prison.
Police arrested Theophilus Bonaby around 9 p.m. on May 19 on St. Croix Road.
He told the court he was headed to the shop.
When McKinney asked him what shop was open at that hour, Bonaby said that someone in his neighborhood sold goods from home.
He claimed that he had a bad toothache and wanted some aspirin.
Bonaby said he didn’t have a chance to get his medicine.
McKinney placed him on probation for two years. If he breaches the emergency orders during this period, he will have to pay a fine of $1,000 to avoid spending six months in prison.