PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis is disappointed homeless people have been convicted of violating the COVID-19 curfew.
Three men - all reportedly homeless - were convicted in Grand Bahama on Monday of violating the curfew.
The men all pled guilty and received sentences ranging from a year in prison, a $500 fine and a $1,000 fine or three months behind bars.
Assistant commissioner of police with responsibility for Grand Bahama, Samuel Butler said yesterday eight people on his island had been arrested for breaching the curfew.
He said the three homeless men were arrested at different locations.
“Three of them were definitely known in our criminal justice system beyond the curfew and the police’s record reflects that each of them had a specific address and be it they may be persons known to traverse the streets, they have a place or a home that they can go to,” he said.
“I want to emphasise the significance of what our order is seeking to prevent. Persons who may have habits, we may be concerned about that group of individuals even in a greater way who may not be leaning to understanding good governance of themselves and abiding by the health directions. Those types of persons we don’t want traversing the streets and coming in contact with ordinary persons.
“We know there are some persons who may not have the ordinary home address that you and I may share, but if they are in a location and remain in their specific location, police will not act on them. Police will take action if we meet you walking the streets. We will ensure you are not traversing the streets.”
Asked about homeless people with mental issues, ACP Butler said: “If the person has the ability to still be mobile, despite mental state, while we want to be as human as possible, police are resolved to be sensible and forceful.”
Mr Davis, however, called for compassion and understanding as police enforce Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ orders.
“I’m truly disappointed with the way we are treating homeless persons, particularly since thought was not given to this demographic in society and arrangements were not made for them to be taken care of during this time,” he said. “Obviously we need to be able to identify the homeless people, get a message to them and find a place for them to be. We have an obligation to make sure they are taken care of and as a state, we need to address these challenges that these people have. Many of them would be unable to comply with the curfew because they have no place to be.”