Kari Douglas charged with breaching COVID-19 curfew

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Kari Douglas charged with breaching COVID-19 curfew

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Kari Douglas, councillor for the Trafalgar Division in theKingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, has vowed to vigorously defend herself in court after she was arrested and charged with breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act and disorderly conduct, last night.

A statement circulating on social media, purportedly from one of the arresting officers, said Douglas was stopped along Meadowbrook Avenue in St Andrew and “failed to identify herself as a member of the essential service as laid down by the law”.

It is further alleged in the statement which has gone viral, that Douglas “became boisterous and started hurling abusive language stating that the police were idiots and dunce to the annoyance and disturbance of the public”.

“She was bailed at the sum of $20,000 to appear in the HWT RM Court [the Kingston andSt Andrew Parish Court] on May 6 2020,” the statement added.

But speaking with OBSERVER ONLINE a short while ago Douglas said she was neither rude nor boisterous when stopped by members of a police team a few blocks from her house, despite them refusing to accept that as a councillor she is exempt from the curfew rules.

“The claims against me are false. The prime minister has clearly established that under the Disaster Risk Management Act, mayors and councillors are exempt from the curfew. With that exemption in mind I remained in my division last night to deal with some emergency situations involving some elderly and vulnerable persons who needed help.

“I was about two blocks away from my home when the police pulled me over and asked for my driver's license. They did not even look at it. I told them I was a councillor and that I was exempt under the law but they refused to listen and said they were going to lock me up if I couldn't produce a valid Government issued ID that identified me as a councillor of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation,” said Douglas.

She said she was asked to follow the police to the Constant Spring Police Station where she was charged, despite the mayor and deputy mayor of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation turning up to identify her.

“I was not boisterous, I simply made it clear that I was exempt from the Act,” said Douglas as she expressed concern that the statement now making the rounds on social media includes her home address, and date of birth.

Douglas, who won the Trafalgar Division on a People's National Party ticket in the last local government election but has since crossed the floor to sit on the Jamaica Labour Party benches, also alleged that some of the comments from the police who arrested and charged her suggested that they were being political in their actions.

Arthur Hall

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