Curfew warning

Covid-19

Curfew warning

People granted exemption could still be charged for being on road during lockdown hours

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 10, 2020

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THE police are warning people granted exemption under the rules governing the islandwide curfew now in effect that they must have proper identifications during the time the country is on shutdown.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday announced that the curfew has been extended until Tuesday, April 21, with varying times over the Easter weekend.

Several categories of people, including journalists, members of the political directorate and essential workers are exempt from the curfew rules, but the police has underscored that this is not a blanket Order.

“There are some persons who are exempted by virtue of the Order but we expect that they should be supportive and to comply with the instructions of the police,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Corporate Communications Unit (CCU).

“It is a requirement that you have proper identification and [it is] important that you have some documentation or something that ties you to the profession that you are a part of,” added Lindsay.

She noted that some companies have given their staff members letters in addition to their work IDs to why they have to be on the road during the hours of the curfew.

“That is a good best practice that we would like to see people adopt. Even though you fall within the exempted category if you are not able to satisfy [the police] that you have a reason to be on the road at that time then they could instruct you to go home and stay home.

“Even though your organisation may fall within the category of those exempted, in some instances it is not every person in the organisation. So at the time that you are on the road it is expected that you are on duty, so either you are heading to work, you are coming from work, or you have some work-related matter,” declared Lindsay.

“There are some organisations … where is not everyone in that organisation who is exempted. There are some persons who are more technical individuals, who, by virtue of what they do, it is important that they have to be out at that time. That is where the organisation will come in and give you some document to justify you being on the road.

The idea is not that we want to prosecute a lot of people but we have to enforce where we have to but … compliance is very, very important,” added Lindsay.

The CCU head comments came hours after councillor for the Trafalgar Division in the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, Kari Douglas, was arrested and charged with breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act and disorderly conduct, on Tuesday night.

Douglas has argued that as a councillor she was exempt from the rules of the curfew and was heading home after completing urgent matters in her division in St Andrew South Eastern.

But the CCU has reported that when questioned by cops Douglas failed to prove that she was a councillor or to give a satisfactory reason for being on the road at that time.

The CCU alleged that Douglas became uncooperative and behaved boisterously while hurling abusive language at the officers.


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