By FARRAH JOHNSON
A MAN who sailed from Andros to New Providence on a Boston Whaler to seek medical treatment for an ailing leg during the national curfew was fined $400 yesterday.
He was among several people who appeared before Magistrate Andrew Forbes for curfew and lockdown infractions, including a group of young people found by police on their way to a hotel for a birthday party.
Deon Miller, 35, pleaded guilty to violating the national curfew after officers found him on Jaws Beach around 1.30pm on May 8. Prosecutor Lincoln McKenzie told the court officers, acting on information, went to the beach where they met a man who told them he had just arrived on a boat from Andros.
During the hearing, Miller told the magistrate he was in Andros for six weeks and was suffering from a bad leg. He claimed he had applied for a letter to get permission to travel to Nassau to seek further medical treatment, but it was taking too long. He added he thought the government was now allowing “anybody who was abroad due to COVID-19 to come home,” because he had misinterpreted the message surrounding the government’s repatriation efforts.
In response, Magistrate Forbes told Miller he should have contacted one of the island’s administrators to confirm whether it was “feasible to travel”. He also told Miller his trip would be an expensive one and fined him $400 or three months in prison.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the ease of some COVID-19 restrictions on Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay. At the time, he said New Providence residents who are on those islands mentioned will be allowed to return to the capital.
Meanwhile, Valentino Ferguson, 23; Gerez Adderley, 24; Arashio Ramsey, 24, Floydira Dorsette, 22; Regina Thompson, 21; and Brenee Bascom, 20, were charged after they were found near John F Kennedy Drive around 9.50pm on May 8.
The group was heading to a hotel to celebrate Dorsette’s 22nd birthday. All of the defendants pleaded guilty and were each fined $400 or two months in prison. Ferguson was also charged with being in possession of dangerous drugs. He pleaded guilty and was conditionally discharged for 12 months on the agreement that he would attend drug counselling classes.
Adderley was represented by attorney Ian Cargill. He told the magistrate his client and her friends had gotten a flat tyre around 8.30pm that night and were less than ten minutes away from their destination.
Attorney Sidney Dorsett, who represented Floydira Dorsette, said the defendants were arrested at 9.10pm and not 9.50pm. He claimed one of the officers who arrested the defendants wrote ten minutes to ten instead of ten minutes after nine in the police statement.”
In response, Magistrate Forbes told the defendants they were putting their families at risk because they all lived in different households and were mingling with one another. He noted one of them could have been asymptomatic with COVID-19 so they all risked contracting the disease and carrying it back home to other family members who may be more susceptible to contracting and suffering from the virus.
In another matter, Carl Carroll, 32, was charged after officers found him on Market Street around 12.15am on May 8. He pleaded guilty and was fined $500 or three months in prison. During the hearing, he told Magistrate Forbes that he only violated the curfew because he was trying to get some money from a man who owed him cash.
Officers found Bruce Colebrooke, 36, on Ferguson Street around 8.40pm on May 9, during the weekend lockdown. He pleaded guilty, but told the magistrate he only went outside to go by his sister’s house to get an asthma pump for his 13-year-old daughter who was experiencing breathing issues. He was subsequently fined $250 or one month in prison.
Jerome Neely, 26, was charged after officers found him near John F Kennedy Drive around 11.05pm on May 8. He pleaded guilty and was fined $300 or two months in prison.
Timothy Johnson, 43, was also charged after he was found on Cordia Street around 9.30pm on May 8. He pleaded guilty, but told the magistrate he only violated the curfew to get some limes from his neighbour because he heard it went well with tea to fight COVID-19. He was subsequently fined $500 or three months in prison.
Justin Williams, 26, was also charged after officers found him at Mackey Street around 7.55pm on May 9. He pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown and was fined $400 or two months in prison. Prosecutor Mckenzie said at the time of his arrest, Williams told officers he was only outside because he was on his way to visit his aunt.