St. Lucian fined for breaching St Vincent quarantine
24 November 2020
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Nov. 24, CMC – A St. Lucian civil engineer has been fined EC$1,500 for breaching the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine here.
Lennox Frederick, 37, was facing a fine of up to EC$6,000 and six months in jail for his offence, which health officer Dr. Roger Duncan told the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court was “reckless”.
Frederick pleaded guilty to a charge that between September 17 and 28,, he contravened an order made under section 27(a) of the Public Health Act, requiring him to quarantine himself from other persons.
He has been given until December 7 to pay the fine or serve two months in prison.
Frederick’s lawyer, Al Elliot, had told the court that his client needed two weeks to pay the fine.
The court heard that on September 13, Frederick arrived here without a negative PCR test result. A test was administered on his arrival at Argyle International Airport and he was told of the retesting protocols on days four and five of his quarantine.
Frederick underwent quarantine at Paradise Beach Hotel, at Villa, at the expense of the airline, One Caribbean, that had brought him to the country.
Because he did not arrive with a COVID-19 test result, he was ordered to quarantine for seven days, during which a nurse checked his temperature daily and advised him as to what was required of him.
Frederick asked whether he could go home and the health personnel told him no. But on September 17, while his test results were still pending, he left the hotel without completing his quarantine or receiving a negative PCR test.
A report was made to the police and Frederick was instructed to surrender himself to police. Frederick arrived at the police station on November 22, where, in the presence of his lawyer he was cautioned and where he admitted to the offence.
He told police that on day two of his quarantine he developed diarrhoea and when his condition did not improve, he left the hotel and went home.
In mitigation, his attorney, Al Elliot told the court that his client has been working here under contract since July 2019. He has no children or dependents, but has been experiencing some issues as it relates to his pay.
Elliot said that Frederick’s employers, Dipcon, agreed to pay him a salary of EC$8,000 a month, but he has “consistently received less than half of that on an average since February this year”.
The lawyer said that the Labour Department has been informed of the ongoing dispute.
He further said that on September 13, Frederick returned from St. Lucia for work and was surprised to learn of the quarantine because he was under the impression that there was a travel bubble.
But Duncan told the court, there has never been a bubble and the reason why the airline was responsible for Frederick’s quarantine is because the airline knew that they should not have brought him here without a negative PCR test.
Duncan also noted that Frederick is an engineer.
“He is a smart guy. I wish I could be an engineer. I’m not that bright. This is reckless. This is reckless,” Duncan said, adding that Frederick’s diarrhoea could have been dealt with had he told health officials.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded 84 positive cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December and linked to the deaths and infections of millions of people worldwide.