St Lucian breaks quarantine before his test results were known
A St Lucian working in St Vincent who somehow managed to fly here in September without a negative PCR test, decided to break his supervised quarantine and go home before his retesting results were known.
Lennox Frederick was in breach of his quarantine order, issued by health office Dr Roger Duncan, for three days, between September 17 and September 20.
He had initially arrived in the country on September 13, aboard One Caribbean, without a PCR test result. As a result, he was tested at the airport, and was taken to Beachcombers Hotel, Villa, to undergo quarantine at the expense of the airline.
Because he came into the country without test results, his hotel quarantine was to be seven days, and he was advised on what was required of him. It is said that he questioned whether he could go home, and was told that he could not. On September 17, his second test result did not return, but he left the hotel without completing his quarantine or being in receipt of the negative result.
The police were notified, and they called Frederick. He went to the Calliaqua police station on September 22.
He was cautioned, and he gave a statement admitting to the offence. Frederick told the police that on day two after his arrival he got diarrhoea and didn’t feel any better so he took a taxi to Layou, where he is staying in an apartment.
“The defendant is a 37-year-old St Lucian national who has been under contract with a company in St Vincent since July of last year,” as a civil engineer working for Dipcon, his lawyer Al Elliott informed the court.
He has accommodation in Layou, and no dependents or children.
“…While I’m speaking of his personal circumstances, I must hasten to add, there has been since February of this year issues with his employment and his take-home pay,” the lawyer informed, and “although he is contracted for a salary of about $8000 monthly as an engineer, he has consistently received less than half of that, on an average, since February this year for a work related dispute which is ongoing.”
When he returned to St Vincent in September, he returned for work and was apparently surprised to find out that he would have to quarantine.
“…Because the understanding when he would have travelled is that we were operating within a travel bubble,” his counsel stated.
When he returned, there apparently were “further implications to his work situation”.
Elliott said that this was coupled with the fact that he began to experience diarrhoea while in quarantine.
“And there was a sense also of some hopelessness, because, throughout the first four days of the quarantine period, he did not receive the test results as he would have expected to receive,” the lawyer added.
The lawyer praised St Vincent’s handling of the pandemic so far, and saying that they were not providing an excuse, but simply presenting the circumstances he was in at the time.
These circumstances being his tumultuous work relationship, explaining the situation to his boss, illness, the uncertainty of the results, “add to a sense of despair, hopelessness, feeling alone, quarantine, and coupled with the fact that he actually has his own residence where he resides alone in Layou.”
The counsel also highlighted his client’s “contrition” in going to the police station when he was called.
Elliott also expressed that he believed the lesson had been learnt, and suggested that a serious reprimand would be sufficient.
He said that Frederick was not an irresponsible individual.
Dr Duncan, who was present, indicated “there is no bubble, there was never a bubble anywhere.”
“The reason why the airline is responsible for his stay, is because the airline knew that they should not have brought him without a negative test,” he clarified.
“…That’s why he had him in quarantine for seven days. Because he came without a test, his status is not known, he has to stay in quarantine for seven days in case,” the doctor noted.
“This is reckless,” Duncan concluded.
He added that if Frederick had diarrhoea, there was a nurse who visited him every day and all he had to do was let her know. If he assured that they provide help to those who need it in quarantine.
Prosecutor Corporal Corlene Samuel agreed with the doctor, and that he was where could have been treated. “It could have been worse than what it is, took a taxi and he went home,” she concluded.
She said that his instructions once home were to stay there, but he didn’t do what he was supposed to.
Ultimately, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett was of the view that a fine should be paid.
He found that $1500 would satisfy justice.
Frederick’s counsel attempted to bring his client’s financial situation to the fore once more, but the magistrate stated that there should be money in the bank.
The defendant must pay this by December 7, or spend a default prison term of two months.