ATTORNEY Fareed Ali believes Samantha Ramischand may not have violated regulations under the Public Health Ordinance.
Ramischand who is the daughter of attorney Odai Ramischand was publicly condemned for a social media video she posted in which she claimed her family owned a private beach and being on it was not breaching any law. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh subsequently described her as being the worst of young people in TT.
As part of the Public Health Ordinance, beaches and rivers remain off-limits to the public in an effort to minimise the spread of the coronavirus being blamed for 60 deaths, up to the time this story was written.
Ramischand later defended his daughter, cursing Deyalsingh in an online rant and promising the minister a legal fight the likes of which he has never before encountered. Ramischand has since apologised to Deyalsingh and his family for the rant.
But in an e-mailed release, attorney Ali said that according to the State Lands Act, Chapter 57:01, Section 3, the public area of a beach is a defined area established in law.
Inferentially, Alis said, according to the Act, once the person in the video is found to be on private land as she claims, she may not be culpable or liable under the regulations since she was not on public land as defined in the Act ie, where public land begins and ends (whilst on the beach). He explained that the area between the high water mark and the low water mark belongs to the state and may be deemed public land/space for the purposes of the Act.
“Hence, public land/space is that area between those two points. If she is found to be on her private land or for argument sake, if not on her private land but on someone else’s private land, once she was not between the high and low water marks, she was not on public land/space. Thus she may not have violated the Regulations under the Public Health Ordinance.”
Ali said this begs the question, “If beach goers stay clear of the high water mark by walking the beach front area above the high water mark, they may be outside the ambit of the law and be able to circumvent provisions of the State Lands Act Chapter 57:01.
“Further, the devil’s advocate may say the area that lies below the low water mark that is within the sea itself is also outside the public space.”
In such an instance, Ali said, they too may be able to avoid the heavy hand of the law if specifically found in that location as one can be deemed to be outside the public space.
Therefore, the danger in being caught in that position may be analogous to being found between “the devil and the deep blue sea” thus one may be able to escape the narrow ambit of the Regulation.