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Cruise ship worker fined $6000 for breaking quarantine order

Cruise ship worker fined $6000 for breaking quarantine order
Jamal Martin

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A cruise ship worker who never stayed in an approved mandatory quarantine facility after arriving in the country in August, and who put his household at risk has been fined $6000 by the court.

Jamal Martin, a 29-year-old of Fairbain Pasture, was charged that he did between August 29 and September 11, at Spring Estate, contravene an order made by Dr Roger Duncan, health officer, under s 27 (a) of the Public Health Act, requiring him to quarantine himself from others.  

Martin had originally pleaded not guilty when he was brought to court on October 1, as one of the first people to be charged under the Public Health (Amendment) Act 2020, which increased the penalty to be imposed by the court for such acts. 

A single instance of breaking quarantine could result in a fine of $2000, and a term of six months in prison. Each day it is broken may be considered a new offence.  

Martin reappeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court this Tuesday, November 3, where he changed his plea.  

The cruise ship worker arrived at the Argyle International Airport(AIA) from St Maarten on August 29, and left with the expressed intention of going to Spring Estate, in order to spend the first five days of his quarantine according to Covid-19 protocols of this country. When he got to Spring Estate, he did not check in, and instead said he was going to Ridgeview Apartments. However, the defendant never checked in there.  

The Ministry made attempts to call him and send emails but these went unanswered.  

The matter was reported to the police, who subsequently picked up the defendant. Martin had apparently told his mother that he completed his quarantine on the ship, and could stay at home.  

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett conducted a means test, and weighed the factors including that the defendant had no previous convictions and had shown some level of remorse. Therefore, he did not choose to impose a term of imprisonment on Martin.  

However, the duration that he was in breach of quarantine was considered as the entire 14-day quarantine period, and the court considered that he was reckless, and had put his household at risk.  

Therefore, while considering that for every day in breach, Martin could be asked to pay up to $2000 each, the final fine of $6000 was deemed appropriate. This is to be honoured by April 30, 2021, or there will be a default prison sentence of four months.  

Also on this Tuesday, November 3, the court saw defendant Javorne Matthews enter a guilty plea for breaching quarantine on October 15. Matthews travelled into the country from Miami on October 10 and stayed at an approved facility before leaving on the last day. She was in breach of quarantine for a few hours, although there is apparently some dispute as to the time she was supposed to leave.  

However, on leaving the facility, she headed to a bank to change money. She is said to have first tried to use the ATM, before having to go into the line. The police were called in.  

Matthews was represented by lawyer Michelle Fife, who mitigated on her behalf.  

She was fined $1000, to be paid by December 15, with an attached default of one-month incarceration should she fail to meet this.