Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod has warned that persons caught dumping illegally will be given much harsher punishments than the “generous” five days of community service imposed on two young men recently caught in the act.
He made the declaration as Anthony Brathwaite, 29 and 23-year-old Ross Corbin issued a public apology for illegally dumping coconut shells at Needham’s Point on Sunday. Ordinarily, such actions could have resulted in fines of as much as $50,000, two years imprisonment, or both.
“I want these two young men of two different social backgrounds to understand clearly that as long as I am Minister of the Environment and anything like this occurs again, there will be no massaging and romanticizing,” Prescod cautioned.
“What we are doing here today is striking a compromise with you, but you are going to have to give a signal to the general public that you are showing some signs of remorse and you are also going to send a signal to other persons who believe they can act like this,” he added.
Brathwaite, who, on Sunday defended his behavior with an expletive-filled rant, has now admitted he had “disrespected” the island and the woman who recorded and reprimanded him for his conduct.
“I was wrongfully assuming that this is where the stuff goes if I picked the limbs from these trees here and the behavior that I pushed toward the lady, I really do want to apologise to her and the whole world in fact,” said Brathwaite.
“I don’t like being put on camera so my reaction was about her putting me on camera. I wasn’t offended about her at all in any other way. I am now aware that what I did was wrong or I wouldn’t have done it. I am truly not a bad person,” he said.
Corbin, who drove the vehicle from which the coconut shells were being discarded, described the action as “unacceptable” and promised never to do it again.
“We should not have dumped illegally, we should have carried it to the SSA and put it there. My apologies go out to everybody for the whole situation. We have got to pay the consequences, so the work will have to be done,” he said.
Alluding to the “difference in class” between the two men, Prescod stressed that both were being held equally responsible and subjected to the same punishment.
“Both of you will pay the same penalty and we are both involved in a gentleman’s agreement with you, for an act that is not so gentlemanlike and I want all persons who escaped us before to take this as a warning.
“We will not be so courteous on the next occasion. Judicial action will be taken and I will be watching closely what the outcome of the decisions is in the court of law. On this occasion, we will settle it with you and we expect you to honour your part of the agreement,” the Environment Minister warned.
The community service cleanup will last for five days and encompass the approximately two-kilometre area of Drill Hall and Pebbles Beach to the Pier Head.
Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) spokesperson, Carl “Alf” Padmore suggested that the two could still be prosecuted.
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