Four Venezuelans who went fishing by a river on Thursday in search of food landed in court on Friday for breaching the covid19 regulations.
Siparia magistrate Nizam Khan fined the four a total of $64,000 on Friday after they each pleaded guilty to two charges – gathering for recreational purposes without permission from the National Security Minister and being in a group of more than five.
A husband and wife from Avocat Village in Fyzabad were also jointly charged for the same offences. They were fined a total of $16,000.
The court heard that WPC Ramdeen was driving in her private car on Thursday and saw six people at the Rio Negro river off St John’s Trace in Avocat. She got out and asked them the reason for the gathering.
Police took the six to the Fyzabad police station.
Through interpreter Moonilal Ragbir, the Venezuelans told the court they were hungry. They said they were unemployed and wanted to get food – fish – to eat.
The Trinidadian couple was passing and one of the Venezuelans, claiming to have caught an alligator, called them to see it.
Sgt Irmaine Johnson-Brewster prosecuted, and WPC Ramdeen laid the charge.
In passing the sentences on Friday, the magistrate scolded the six. He called on people to obey the laws, especially in light of the pandemic, which has “taken a turn for the worse in TT."
Khan said the offences are prevalent, and people must not flout the law.
He fined the Venezuelans $8,000 for each offence and the local couple $4,000 on each offence.
The six were given two months to pay, failing which they will serve two months in prison.
On two occasions a few weeks ago, the court sitting ended around 7 pm and 7. 30 pm. The court has had an influx of cases involving migrants, causing it to finish later than usual.