GRENADA: Bus drivers charged for overloading buses, 27 charged under COVID-19 State of Emergency regulations

Edvin Martin, Acting Commissioner of Police, has confirmed that since Grenada began the limited State of Emergency last Wednesday as part of mandatory measures aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19, police have charged 27 persons for violating the curfew and other section of the regulations, Grenada now reports.

Describing the charges as a lack of cooperation from persons, Martin said that 7 were arrested for the consumption of alcohol at shops, while 3 are bus drivers charged for overloading buses in violation of the one-to-a-seat rule. “The RGPF arrested 27 persons specific to the limited state of emergency for lack of cooperation; breaking curfew, leaving their place of residence without due cause and a number of matters that have put us in an environment that makes it difficult to enforce the social distancing.”

He pointed out that the police have adopted 2 measures to handle the law violators. “All of the 27, so far they have been processed by the police in one of two ways. We granted bail to some of those and others we have decided based on the minor nature of the offence to take them by summons and we have made that conscious decision for 2 things: given the small size of our cells, not wanting to keep a large number of persons and not being able to have to social distance in the cells,” Martin said in a news conference late Monday afternoon.

Speaking specifically to the sale of alcohol, the Acting Commissioner said that the sale of alcohol is not allowed, especially in small shops that are twinned with grocery shops. “And yes shopkeepers, we are aware of the backdoor strategy. We are aware of the locking inside but you cannot keep silent, so we know you will be there,” he said, pleading for the public to do what is necessary and exercise the discipline that is required to reverse the spread of Covid-19.

No form of loitering will be allowed during the days that people can purchase groceries from shops. “We expect individuals to go to a shop, you make your purchase, you do what you have to do, and you go straight back home. We will not entertain or allow any form of gathering or socialization, in or around any shop at this point in time,” Martin said.

Any person charged under the State of Emergency regulations is liable to a fine of EC$1,000 or 12-months imprisonment.

On 22 March, Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, announced that Grenada had confirmed its first Covid-19 case. On 26 March, he announced a further 6 confirmations and on 29 March, a further 2 cases. Confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 29 March, stands at 9.

Immediately following the first announcement, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell declared that the island will be in a limited state of emergency with a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am. The aim of the limited State of Emergency is to reduce transmission, but during the period first few days, violations of the State of Emergency regulations began increasing and as of Monday, 30 March Grenada began a 24-hour mandatory curfew until 6 April.