$101 million collected, almost 3,900 charged under curfew, DRMA

ALMOST 4,000 people have been charged under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

This was disclosed by the Court Administration Division (CAD) following a request from the Jamaica Observer.

The CAD said some 3,891 people have been charged, with the average raw score of fines imposed per person over this period being $26,047.

The figure suggests that the Government has collected approximately $101,348,877 million in fines. The CAD did not provide an overall figure.

It said that the most common charges included the breach of the curfew order; breach of the DRMA; failure to wear a mask in a public place; hosting an unpermitted event; and causing excess and prohibited assembly.

A total of 2,155 people were charged for breaching the Government’s curfew order, accounting for 50 per cent of those charged between January and March.

One thousand eight hundred and sixty-four people were charged for breaching the DRMA.

Meanwhile, 103 individuals have been charged for failing to wear a mask in a public place; 30 for hosting an unpermitted event; and 23 for causing excess and prohibited assembly.

The CAD noted that several persons were charged for more than one offence.

At the same time, it said that the maximum fine imposed under the DRMA was $250,000 while the minimum fine imposed was $1,000.

Thirty-seven people have been jailed for failing to pay the fine.

Last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stressed that the country is still operating under the DRMA as it relates to the management of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The Government, more than any other entity [or] agency, has the duty to ensure that the Disaster Risk Management Act is observed not only in our words but also in the actions we take,” he said.

Holness said while it is clear that Jamaicans have grown frustrated with the measures imposed under the DRMA, this is a matter of mood.

“When we were in the midst of the pandemic the mood was different. When we were in the grips of the last spike the mood was different. In fact, the perspective was that the Government needs to tighten up and the Government is weak and not doing enough, and then we would have seen the situation in other countries.

“But I urge Jamaicans not to get complacent and not to lose sight of the very dangerous and delicate situation in which we are. Other countries are progressing out of the situation because they have access to vaccines and their population — some of them are more than 50 per cent vaccinated — some are as high as 80 per cent.

“We are still hovering at around five per cent so we can’t take any risk because the same people that curse us today about being too tight are the same ones who will turn around and curse us tomorrow if we loosen up. So we have to be very practical and very cautious,” said Holness.

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