Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes today sent a strong message to persons who congregate in groups during the national COVID-19 curfew and especially three young men who attended a motorcycle stunt event over the weekend.
The men must now pay $8,000 each in 20 weeks or spend nine months in prison for being in contravention of Paragraph 2, Sub-Paragraph 29 of the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Curfew 9 (No.5) Directive, 2020 when they were found outdoors at Lears, St Michael on May 24 at 5:25 p.m. attending the event without a reasonable explanation.
“Stay away from crowds… I have to send a strong message, no events don’t encourage ignorance,” Chief Magistrate Weekes warned.
Ean Antonio Lowe, 25, Savannah Road, Bush Hall, St Michael, pleaded guilty to breaching the curfew directive as well as riding motorcycle MX592 without reasonable explanation, driving without a licence and insurance, having fraudulent plates, and without the motorcycle being registered with Licensing Authority.
Sergeant Theodore McClean told the court that police received a report and went on duty at Lears where they saw a group of persons. Lowe was on the side watching and was asked to produce his driver’s licence but said he did not have any.
“I guess I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Lowe told the Chief Magistrate who was not satisfied with that explanation.
“People going out in groups, doing things in groups . . . and wunna ain’t know what wunna carrying back home. You’ll are doing a level of foolishness I do not understand. I am going to send a message that other people will understand.
“The group was doing something to put peoples lives in danger. You had no right being out there and encouraging them by watching that lawlessness and illegal behaviour,” Weekes stated.
In his explanation, Tristan Herbert, 31, of No 112 3rd Avenue Rowen’s Park, St George who also pleaded guilty to the charge, said while he understood that persons should not congregate he misunderstood the curfew time.
“I was not in the group. I was spectating. I thought you could be out till 8 p.m. I misunderstand and take responsibility,” Herbert said.
Weekes questioned: “Do you know who was among the crowd that had COVID?”
Herbert responded: “I was wearing my mask, sir.”
That response did not sit well with the Chief Magistrate Weekes.
“Do you understand the level of foolishness. . . a mask . . . you thought that was enough to protect you? Wunna young people need to be taught common sense. Y’all don’t even know how you get COVID.”
The other man to plead guilty was Travis Akeem Marshall, 26, of Mayers Road, My Lord’s Hill, St Michael. He explained that he left work and only stopped at Lears for five to ten minutes.
“Stay away from the crowds you should not have been in there for even a minute. I have to send a strong message no – events, don’t encourage no ignorance,” the Chief Magistrate said before he imposed the fines.
Several other men were also charged with the same offence but pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
They are: Che Nicholai Singh, 20, of Nursery Road, Four Roads, St Philip and Rasean Rico Ashby, 20, of Exchange Road, St George who were represented by attorney-at-law Kwame Rawlins. Also charged were: Kristen Khenraj Singh, 29, of No 39 Cottage, St George who had Sherise King as his legal counsel and Kevon Ramario Forde, 19, of Valley Land, St George who was represented by attorney-at-law Kamisha Benjamin.
The others were – Daniel Anthony Omar Remis, 20, of No 10 Constant, St George; Josiah Nathanael Boyce, 18, of Valley Land, St George; Jumario Kadeem Phillips, 21, of 8F Bottom Close, Wildey, St Michael; Akeem Jamal Belle, 34, of 5A Bottom Close, Wildey, St Michael; Chunia Shakir Welch, 21, of 82 J Parkinson Field, St Michael; Dibbaggio Tyge Payne, 16, of No 19 Walker’s Valley, St George; Casey Terrell Wood, 23, of 16D Bottom Close, Wildey, St Michael; and Javon Ramone Williams, 34, of Block 23 Hayneswille, St James.
They secured $3,000 bail each to reappear in the District ‘D’ Magistrates’ Court on August 25. Most of them are also on 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily court-imposed curfews.
Rico Jamar Browne, 29, of Allamby Gap, Spooner’s Hill, St Michael also pleaded not guilty to the curfew charge but admitted to several traffic offences.
He now has to pay the court $800 in 12 weeks for not having a driver’s licence for his motorcycle or spend three months in prison. The same sentenced was imposed for having no insurance. He was reprimanded and discharged for having fraudulent number plates and for not registering the motor vehicle with Licensing Authority.
Attorney-at-law Asanti Brathwaite represented Brown.