By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 20-year-old man, who was convicted for selling coconut water without a permit last month, was able to pay his $800 court fine on Friday thanks to good Samaritans.
Marvin Joseph spent two nights in jail last month after police officers found him operating a business without obtaining a permit from the Commissioner of Police.
This is the third time the roadside vendor has had to appear before a Magistrate’s Court on the same offence and the second time he was fined.
In early July, he was fined $25 for selling mangoes, coconut water and coconut jelly on the side of the street without a license.
Nearly two weeks later, he appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt for selling coconut water and jelly and was later ordered to pay $800 after spending two nights at the Bahamas Department of Corrections.
Youth Against Violence Founder Carlos Reid told reporters that Marvin was given until Friday to pay half of his fines but was able to pay the full amount thanks to good Samaritans.
Mr Reid said: “Since his arrest and incarceration, we have raised $800 to pay his fine. He’s supposed to be out here to pay $400, half of it, but we wanted to make sure that they didn’t put this behind him. We have persons like Julian Believe and Sherwin Johnson from EVO Bahamas. He set up a Facebook page for him to run his business. Since then, we had at least 300 persons to like the page and the public has been supportive.”
Noting the importance of supporting young entrepreneurship, Mr Reid called on the government to be more sensitive to the needs of others.
“The only crime we believe he committed was the fact of trying to provide for his family. One of the things that we are calling for is for our government to be more sensitive in this time and to relax some of these rules that they’re putting on,” he noted.
“We don’t want our young people on the streets where they have to be robbing people, stealing people’s grocery when people have an opportunity to become young entrepreneurs, so that is why we support Marvin and his endeavour.”
Meanwhile, EVO Bahamas president Sherwin Johnson added: “Marvin’s story hit me because it’s special to me because I know what it is to not get support and it’s important that we support our young people even if we do not support their dreams or visions, support the person. So I decided I would give my support to Marvin.”
Local entertainer Julian Believe also supported Marvin on Friday. He noted it was important to be each other’s keeper during this difficult time in the country’s history.
“We wanted to do something to help him with his business so he could always be in a position to contact his customers or they can be in a position to contact him so we decided to buy him a new phone,” he added.
“I think its important for us to be your brother’s keeper, your sister’s keeper, during this time because it’s hard for a lot of us here and I respect his hustle. He’s an entrepreneur trying to do his thing. He has his sisters that he’s taking care of and to be the oldest and have that responsibility at a young age, I respect him.”
For his part, Marvin said he was thankful for the outpouring of love and support expressed toward him since the ordeal.
“I just want to thank everyone who’ve been pushing me, supporting me and telling me not to give up and who’s been helping me out and my family,” he added. “I also want to thank my Carlos Reid for letting me sell my coconut water by the Oak Centre. I just want to thank everyone.”