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‘I was only trying to make an honest living’

Jason Williams, 18, spent three days in jail for selling coconut water on the side of the road last week in breach of a 24-hour curfew put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“I was only trying to make an honest living,” said Williams, who was arrested on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.

“It ain’t like I out here robbing or doing anything bad… I know the police doing their job, but I mean, they could’ve at least shown me some kind of respect.”

He added, “…When you see someone trying, don’t just give them a hard time; help them out.”

Williams said he was arrested around 3 p.m. on Friday.

He was released on Monday after being fined $700 by Magistrate Sandradee Gardiner for violating curfew and operating a non-essential business.

“I was hurt to hear that price,” Williams said.

“People already don’t have nothing and to hurt my head to go and look for the money.”

Williams said he doesn’t have $700 to his name.

Members of the community came together to help Williams pay his fine yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis imposed a curfew and ordered the closure of hundreds of non-essential businesses across The Bahamas in March.

Williams said he did not anticipate getting arrested for violating curfew.

“It didn’t really play out like how they said,” he recalled.

“They still end up putting me in custody. They tell me to just move the coconut from the road. They still end up locking me up. I didn’t know they [were] going to lock me up.”

Williams said he hopes his business will get him farther in life.

“It’s the only thing that has me surviving right now,” he said.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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