Young professionals fined for breaching curfew

March 24, 2022

A group of young professionals, including student doctors, were fined for breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) when they appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday.

The court heard that the defendants were patrons at an event held at a private property in St Andrew. It is reported that on February 27, about 12:30 a.m., police attached to the New Kingston Police Post received information that a party was in session at the Trotter's Cafe located at 5 Park Place. The police visited the location where they reportedly saw scores of patrons. The promoters were directed to turn off the music and further warned for prosecution.

Another directive was given that patrons leave the venue and head to their place of residence. However, according to the police, the patrons ignored the orders of a police inspector, and were seen drinking and talking among themselves.

As a result, a warning was made via the public address system of the police service vehicle that patrons had 15 minutes to vacate the property. At 12:45 a.m., the main exit was cordoned off and the remaining patrons who failed to leave the venue were arrested and charged for breaching the curfew under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

At the time of the incident, the nightly curfew started at 11 o'clock.

The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.

Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks said that while the maximum punishment for breaching the DRMA is $1 million or 12-months' imprisonment, he would not impose hefty fines given the recent announcement last week Thursday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, that the legislation would no longer be used to manage the pandemic.

The defendants were each ordered to pay a fine of $15,000 or face 30 days' imprisonment.

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