By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JAMAICAN man was fined $1,000 yesterday after he admitted to hosting a party with nearly 200 guests in defiance of the physical distancing protocols outlined in the COVID-19 emergency orders.
Lamar Walters, 23, was accused of allowing more than 30 people to attend a birthday party he hosted at the Marley Resort on July 12, without the permission of a specified competent authority.
He pleaded guilty during his hearing before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes and was fined $1,000 or six months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
The court heard that officers went to the West Bay Street resort around 8.20pm on the night in question. Upon arrival, the officers noticed about 200 people at the social gathering who were not wearing masks. An investigation to find out who was hosting the event led to Walter’s arrest. During an interview with police at a nearby station, he admitted to the offence and was subsequently charged.
When given an opportunity to speak yesterday, Walters told the magistrate he had only invited “about 20 people” to his party. He claimed he “turned his back for 15 minutes” and when he went back downstairs, more people had come. Walters also admitted he did not know some of the people who attended his party.
In response, Magistrate Forbes told Walters the fact he decided to host his birthday celebrations in a public space while there was a “lack of entertainment” in the country, meant that people from the “east, west and south” were going to show up. He also told Walters while the 150 people who attended his party were probably gatecrashers who didn’t know him personally, he had to face the consequences since he was the one hosting the event. With that in mind, Magistrate Forbes encouraged Walters to “think first before the fact, then make a decision”.