(CMR) A Jamaican was sent to prison for six months after leaving a quarantine center in Barbados to go to a shop.
According to Barbados Today, Dean George Scott, a 49-year-old mason, arrived on the island on December 6 and was placed in mandatory quarantine at the St Lucy District Hospital.
He was seen the following day in the neighborhood with an armband that indicated he was in quarantine. The quarantine center was alerted, and it was found that Scott had left the facility.
Scott was charged for leaving the premises without a reasonable explanation. According to the Emergency Legislation, the penalty for breaching quarantine is a maximum fine of $50,000 or one-year imprisonment or both.
In sentencing him on Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes said that type of behavior could not be allowed, and he had to send a strong message. He told Scott:
“I got to send a message to you and to all the other people that this cannot be tolerated . . . . We have made too much gain, so you have to do six months .”
Scott, who asked the senior magistrate for mercy, said he left the facility to buy “Fanta and other stuff” after asking for something to drink and was told he would have to wait.
Stating that he did not know he could not leave the facility to purchase the items, Scott told the court that his COVID-19 test to enter Barbados and a subsequent test on arrival were negative.
The senior magistrate said: “I understand that we are not accustomed to quarantine and all of that. . . . We have to make adjustments . . . . We are going to be wearing these masks till 2022 at least . . . so get it in our DNA. It is about survival. I need to send a strong message because there is no good reason for you to be doing this. You had a craving and you acted on your craving.”
In his continued plea for leniency, Scott told the magistrate that he had the money to buy his ticket to Jamaica. However, Mr. Weekes said he would have to serve the time.
He told Scott he could have put everyone at risk to satisfy his cravings. The magistrate said sentencing Scott would let other visitors to the country know that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
Meantime, a couple from the UK was arrested in Barbados on Wednesday as they attempted to leave the country. One of the two tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday while in quarantine at a hotel; however before they could be placed in isolation, they removed their wrist bands, which identified them as quarantining guests, boarded a taxi, and attempted to leave the country on a British Airway flight. Persons who came in contact with these visitors have been placed in quarantine.