By FARRAH JOHNSON
A FILIPINO woman who was caught jogging past the Cable Beach Police Station during the weekend lockdown was fined $2,000 yesterday.
Helen Lacar, 41, was charged after officers found her on West Bay Street around 4.20pm on Sunday, May 17.
Prosecutor Waynette McPhee told the court that day officers at the Cable Beach Police Station observed a woman jogging past the station during the lockdown. One of the officers came out of the station and beckoned for her to stop and questioned her.
Sgt McPhee said Lacar failed to give officers a satisfactory answer to justify her being outdoors. As a result, she was taken into the station and interviewed. It was at that time that she admitted to the offence.
When given an opportunity to speak, Lacar told the magistrate she was a housekeeper and had only come outside to exercise. She also admitted she was not aware of the rules for exercising during the pandemic and apologised for the “oversight”.
She pleaded guilty and was fined $2,000 or nine months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis recently relaxed exercise restrictions during the weekend lockdown, however people are only allowed to exercise in their immediate neighbourhood from 5am to 8am on Saturday and Sunday.
Several others were charged with curfew and lockdown infractions.
Teran Sweeting, 24, was charged after officers found him on Shrimp Road around 10.05pm on May 10. He pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500 or six months at BDCS. Sgt McPhee said during his interview with police at a nearby station, Sweeting told officers his baby’s mother wasn’t feeling well so he went to check on her.
During the arraignment, Sweeting was represented by attorney Robyn Lynes. She told the magistrate her client didn’t waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty at his first opportunity. She also said that it was difficult for people to understand how to respond to an emergency and insisted that Sweeting only left his house to make sure his girlfriend was okay since she lived alone.
Officers found Anthorn Ferguson, 39, and Edner Joseph, 49, on Wulff Road around 9.40pm on May 13. They pleaded guilty and were each fined $500 or three months in prison. When asked why they violated the national curfew, Ferguson told the magistrate he was a single parent with twins who was trying to “accumulate money”. He said that after he wasn’t able to make any money, he tried to get a plate of hot food from his cousin since his family had been eating noodles all week. Joseph on the other hand, told the magistrate he went to Bamboo Shack that night but they were closed, so he hiked a ride home with Ferguson.
Theophilus Bonaby, 31, was charged after officers found him on St Croix Road around 9.40pm on May 19. He pleaded guilty, but was given two years’ probation after he told the magistrate that he had only left his house to get some aspirin from a “house shop” that was located “two or three houses down” from his own because he was suffering from a toothache. Still, Magistrate McKinney warned him if he came back to court for violating the curfew or lockdown again, he would be fined $1,000 or six months at BDCS.
Officers found Eusias Bodie, 26, in Pastel Gardens around 9.43pm on May 12. He pleaded guilty in court, but said he had only breached the curfew because he had lost track of time. Sgt McPhee also said at the time of Bodie’s arrest, he told officers he was going to buy a soda. He was subsequently fined $1,000 or six months in prison.
Thoran Adderley, 18, and his teenage twin brothers were charged for violating the lockdown after officers found them on Lamos Street around 1.30am. The trio initially pleaded guilty, but had their matter adjourned for trial after they told the magistrate they were on their porch when the officers arrested them. Magistrate McKinney told the young men because they claimed to be within the confines of their homes he could not accept their guilty pleas and adjourned the matter to September 1.
Officers found Endaid Tiris, 38, and Oriliene St Fleur on University Drive around 9.02pm on May 18. They both pleaded guilty and were each fined $1,000 or six months in prison. During the hearing, Tiris said he was hungry and didn’t have any food at home so he went with his cousin to his aunt’s house to get something to eat.
St Fleur also told Magistrate McKinney that he was “very, very hungry” and went to his mother’s house for some food because he had run out.