King slapped with two more charges
Political activist Luzette King has been slapped with two more charges in relation to an incident that took place at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on Saturday, January 30.
On Monday, King appeared virtually before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, charged that on January 30 at the AIA, she breached immigration and customs regulations.
Represented by lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, King was given bail of EC$2000 and scheduled to return to court on Thursday, March 11.
Yesterday, two more charges were read to King.
She was charged that on January 30, 2021 at AIA, upon arriving into the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines, she did impede carrying out a search of anything which is liable for search by not presenting herself to a customs officer, contrary to Section 101(1b) of chapter 422 of the revised laws of SVG.
She was further charged that on January 30, 2021 at AIA, on entering SVG, she failed to produce her bags to the customs officer as required by the Customs Control and Management Act, contrary to section 81 of that Act.
King pleaded not guilty to both charges as she did to the ones read to her on Monday.
She was asked to return to court on Monday March 29, 2021.
King, address given as Mesopotamia/Campden Park is currently in quarantine at a local hotel and her bail continues under the same measures.
Yesterday, King’s lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste sought permission from the court to have her client continue quarantine at King’s private residence.
The court however denied the request but noted that King could quarantine at home if the Ministry of Health allowed it.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Roger Duncan is said to have informed the court that there is a “significant” backlog of requests from persons wanting to quarantine at home and King’s request had not yet been processed.
King applied for a quarantine exemption on February 1 and did not get a response before she left the United States (US) for SVG on February 6. The court was informed that Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache told King’s lawyer that the exemption was denied.
King, said to be in her 70s, is a Vincentian by descent, having been born in Curacao to Vincentian parents.
She is said to have arrived at the AIA on January 30 without a confirmed booking at a COVID-19 approved accommodation to spend her mandatory 14-day quarantine.
On being told she would have to return to the United States if she did not stay at an approved accommodation, King is alleged to have run from the nurses’ room located in the AIA terminal building, out to the airport parking lot where she was apprehended by a customs officer and taken back to the immigration department.
“…They offered me two choices, one, I was to book a 14-day quarantine there and then, or go back on the plane, and yes, I ran to hell out, because I thought my taxi would have been there and I would have gone in that taxi.
“I would not have made him drive away, but I would have give them hell to get me out of that vehicle…that’s why I ran out…they manhandled me and brought me in and the customs officer said we are going to determine what happens to you here,” King said during a Facebook Live broadcast one day after she was sent back to the US onboard the American Airline (AA) aircraft that had brought her from Miami.
On Saturday, February 6, King returned to SVG onboard an AA flight and is alleged to have told health officials that she did not have a negative PCR test or a booking at a Covid-19 approved hotel.
Reports are that King actually did have a negative PCR test in her possession and a receipt showing that she had paid for an approved quarantine facility, but refused to show authorities the documents when asked to produce them.
She was again taken to the AA flight that brought her to SVG, but is alleged to have sat on the floor of the airbridge, near to the entrance of the plane and begun screaming, “No, no, no…,” and refused to board the flight.
She was taken back to the terminal, where it is alleged there was a standoff between King and the authorities.
She was taken to the Biabou Police station where she was charged in relation to the January 30 incidents.