BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – DESPITE two recent occurrences, the Government is currently not considering increasing the penalties for persons found breaching the COVID-19 Regulations.
“At this point in time there is no particular discussion on that,” Attorney-General Vincent Byron Jr. told SKNVibes.
Since the stricter penalties were implemented, EC$5,000 fine was imposed, there were four instances where breaches were reported.
The first instance was reported back in December when 33-year-old George Mc Cumisky of Texas, United States of America, was found guilty and fined EC$4,800 or US$1,777.
Police reported that Mc Cumisky had tested positive and left the quarantine facility for the airport before receiving a negative test for clearance.
He was found in the departure lounge at the RLB International Airport, where he was arrested and subsequently charged.
The second incident, which occurred in February, saw Superintendent Cromwell Henry reporting to the nation that a positive case was inadvertently discharged from quarantine and allowed to travel in public transportation before being returned to the quarantine facility.
But at a media brief the following week, Medical Chief-of-Staff Dr. Cameron Wilkinson explained that the person was not able to travel on public transportation and all the individuals with whom the person came into contact were quarantined.
The third and fourth instances occurred earlier this month when two groups of eight persons left their vacation in place spot and went to several locations before they were arrested, charged and fined $4,000 each.
Questioned by SKNVibes News about imposing stiffer penalties, AG Byron said he believes that the “law is quite clear. I think the law is quite appropriate and it is a matter of enforcement”.
Speaking specifically to enforcement, the AG lamented that it was up to the judges. to
“We would have had a very recent case in Nevis where they had two separate breaches, and in each of those cases charges were proffered. And the individuals went to court and plead guilty and the courts awarded a fine,” the AG explained.
He added: “Generally in sentencing, the court has the discretion up to a certain level. And this was up to $5,000...and the court did not choose to enforce the maximum. So they could have given more [and] with the quantum going higher does not necessarily mean that it is going to make a difference.”
The AG was optimistic that the fines would be a deterrent for persons to repeat the breach.