Bahamians are not taking the curfew and lockdown restrictions seriously, Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes said yesterday.
He made his comments during the arraignment of four people arrested on the streets of Gambier Village at 10:15 p.m on May 22, an hour after the weekend lockdown began.
Deshanna Williams, Tiffany Miller, Byron Neymour and Danielle Fatal pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown.
They were each fined $500 or two months in prison.
Upon arrest, they allegedly told officers that they “were chilling,” the court heard.
By the time they were interviewed at the police station, they said they were getting food.
In court, defense lawyer Ian Cargill said that Williams experienced car problems while dropping someone home. She called Miller, whose car didn’t have gas, and eventually Neymour came to their rescue.
Regardless the reason, Forbes said they had no excuse to flout the lockdown.
Forbes said that people continued to ignore the regulations, despite potential penalties of up to 18 months in prison and maximum fines of $10,000.
He said, “It seems that until and unless one of these courts decides to impose a maximum penalty on someone, all of us are not paying attention. We are not getting the message.”
Forbes said last week there was a lot of “howling” about a roadside coconut vendor being fined a total of $700 or one month in prison for operating a non-essential business and breaking the curfew.
Yet, Forbes said police arrested people for flouting the rules.
Forbes said, “Bahamian society appears not to be listening. Magistrates have been, in my opinion, reserved. They’ve not gone to the maximum penalty, but they’ve been fining people to let them know there is a consequence.”
Jamalio Forbes had an extremely expensive meal at his sister’s home on May 21.
Police arrested him on Soldier Road at 9 p.m. as he walked home.
Magistrate Forbes ordered him to pay a $500 fine or spend two months in prison.
George Miller told the court that he was drunk when he broke the lockdown on Sunday, May 24 at 2:45 a.m.
Miller said he was drinking on his porch when he decided to go for a walk.
Police arrested the resident of Big Pond at Poinciana Drive.
Miller asked the court for leniency since he is unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forbes ordered him to pay a $500 fine or spend two months in prison.
Police arrested Castello McIntosh at 1:30 a.m. on May 23 for breaking the lockdown.
When stopped by police, McIntosh said that he was on his way to his mother’s home because he had an altercation with his girlfriend.
McIntosh was also ordered to pay $500 or spend two months in prison.
Cameron Robinson said he was in search of food when he was arrested after 10 p.m. on May 21 in Fox Hill.
Forbes fined him $500; failure to pay would result in two months in prison.
Edmund Jones and Kenneth Lockhart were also arrested in Fox Hill for breaking the lockdown.
The pair claimed that they were out to get water.
Forbes fined them each $400; failure to pay would result in a two-month prison term.
Police found a small amount of marijuana in Jones’ pocket on arrest.
He admitted the charges and was given a conditional discharge.
Jones has to undergo drug tests for a year. He risks three months in prison if he fails to do so.