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Covid Order violators labeled as convicts on police record

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Bahamians convicted of violating Covid-19 restrictions are being vilified on their police record, which states, “This is to notify that the above named individual has been convicted of criminal offenses in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas”.

The Criminal Records Office also lists the crime committed, conviction date and sentence.

Consequently, Bahamians convicted of minor Covid-19 Order violations, including breaking curfew to go to the water pump, selling coconuts on the side of the road, or driving without a mask, will now have a criminal record.

This could affect their ability to successfully apply for a U. S. or Canadian Visa, travel to the United States or get a job during one of the toughest economic periods in Bahamian history.

The Minnis Administration has been accused of making a grim situation even more unbearable for the average Bahamian, who has been handcuffed, hauled before the courts and slammed with heavy fines or the threat of imprisonment for minor infractions.

Among those charged and convicted are Charles Johnson, 71, who went outside on Andros Avenue to stretch his legs and was fined $400 on April 15 for violating the five-day lockdown.

Garnette Sweeting, 39, was fined $250 after he was found on University Drive around 10pm on June 5. He said that he had only left home to visit his grandmother who was dying from cancer.

Ashton Thompson, 20, Alex Thompson, 19; and Vanhouston Woods were charged after officers found them on Alexandria Boulevard, Nassau Village around 6.45pm on April 19. They were each fined $500.

The Thompsons left their home to get water so that their diabetic grandfather could take his medication. The boys also said they had no running water in their house because their current had gone off and they got their water from an electric pump.

If any of these violators were to apply for a police record, they would receive a certificate labeling them as convicts when they all had justifiable reasons for leaving their homes.

Though the small man has been treated like a common criminal, the wealthy and connected continue to get away with breaking Covid-19 regulations.

Carlyle Bethel, the son of Attorney General Carl Bethel, faced no consequences after standing in a wedding that surpassed the 10-person limit, while not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. In fact, the groomsmen alone amounted to the 10-person limit. Bethel admitted he was wrong after he was exposed in a Tribune article on Monday. However, he went unpunished.

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