BVI News

Imprisonment or thousands in fines for persons who breach new quarantine law

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Residents of the British Virgin Islands who fail to comply with the government-imposed quarantine could now be fined thousands of dollars in a court of law or be sent to prison for up to 12 months. 

Health Minister Carvin Malone gave that indication during Friday’s emergency session of the House of Assembly while introducing the new COVID-19 Control and Suppression (Miscellaneous & Provisions) Act of 2020. 

He said the court could fine perpetrators “up to 5,000” along with a custodial sentence upon summary (Magistrate’s Court) conviction. 

We prefer to fine culprits

Malone explained that while the term of imprisonment is attached for the court’s consideration, a special prison would have to be constructed, specifically to enable these persons to serve their time.

“We would rather the money. We will do everything to collect the $5,000” the minister said.

He explained that if someone is suspected of having a virus such as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), placing them at a facility like Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut would be a breeding ground for the virus which would, effectively, defeat the purpose of quarantining.

Increased powers to order mandatory quarantine

The COVID-19 Control and Suppression (Miscellaneous & Provisions) Act also gives the Minister of Health the power to order persons entering the BVI from countries impacted by the virus to quarantine for two weeks.

“Clause Two will determine whether such persons will be quarantined at their residence or at any government-appointed quarantine facility,” Malone explained.

Prior to the introduction of this Act — which passed in the House Friday night, March 27 — the law only allowed for authorities to enforce a quarantine order if a person tested positive for the virus. 

Malone said this limitation affected government’s ability to impose a ‘mandatory quarantine’ order for suspected COVID-19 cases because persons had the legal freedom do decline being quarantined.

Power to restrict ferry operations 

The Act, in the meantime, also now has provisions to restrict ferries and commercial vessels during a pandemic.

At least two opposition legislators including the Leader of Opposition, Marlon Penn, publicly expressed support for the Act. The other was Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull. 

Turnbull said he had no choice but to support because of the seriousness of COVID-19 while Penn stated that it was unfortunate that laws like these have to be passed to protect residents.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

28 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Good things my brothers keep the pressure on.

    • Con says:

      I must a big big kudos to the officers from east for constantly patrolling last evening. Amazing job keep it up was all smiles for us.

  2. Hmmm says:

    If them is island people send them a** home. Deportttttt
    Period

    Like 6
    Dislike 26
  3. Lord says:

    I wish UK had send in them police here from these set of island man jokers them have for police.

    Like 15
    Dislike 10
  4. real people says:

    I hate the vip government!!!!THEY, who passed a bill while we ALL WERE ORDERED TO BE CURFEWED THESE GUYS PASSING LAWS THAT VIOLATE OUR FREEDOM RIGHTS UNDER THE DISGUISE OF THIS SO CALLED VIRUS… THESE LAWS ARE BIASED AND INAPPROPRIATE IF THESE ACTIONS WERE TAKEN THERE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN A CASE WITH PERSON COMING FROM UK AND OTHER PLACES BRINGING TURMOIL UPON US ALL WHO ARE DEFINITELY INNOCENT, I HATE THE VIP GOVERNMENT!!!!

    Like 5
    Dislike 37
  5. Yes and yes says:

    Pass whatever law that you have to pass to assure each and everyone’s safety. To all you selfish people that is not or refuse to comply with the law, you are more of a threat and more dangerous than the virus.

    Like 37
    Dislike 1
  6. Aim says:

    This law was aimed at the expats both black and white. The Belongers will never pay a fine or be imprisoned. They of course are above the law and their offspring will continue to ride their scooters, sell their dope and chase the skanks.9 It is what it is.

    Like 25
    Dislike 14
  7. Idk says:

    Imagine y’all can me this kind of law, but won’t make one to help the citizens of the vi. Where’s the price control bill, where’s the bill to protect tenants for these overpriced tents?????

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
  8. Anonymous says:

    They don’t want prices control for you. They don’t want a decent living wage for you. They don’t rent control for you.

    If they did, such pieces of legislation would have been constructed and in effect a long time ago. That is fact.

    They want the status quo to continue. The want the political and money connections to be undisrupted. The want their profits to continue to increase.

    They want from you only a vote when the time comes. How many of them even make an attempt to speak muchless be friendly with you since being elected?

    How many who can definitely help you actually have, even after asking and begging? Then, your misey continues while they live happy.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  9. voiceofthevoiceless says:

    I applaud the enactment of the law in these most critical and challenging of times. However, the timing of the enactment almost two weeks too late seems to be more reactive than proactive.

    The law was in reaction to the many individuals who were asked to self quarantine after returning back home in the last 2-4 weeks. Some did not adhere to the self quarantine and as a result this law came about. People who know the BVI should have seen this coming. On a daily basis they are many laws that are consistently infringed upon but never enforced yet now you are trusting persons to exercise their moral and civic responsibility and self quarantine? As a result at the last minute they closed the borders to all incoming persons and left some stranded but what should have been done was to enact this first and then enforce it.

    Hopefully now they will open the borders to at least allow for BVI Islanders, permanent residents and work permit holders to return and be mandatory quarantined if necessary.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  10. Nikita says:

    Waaaw it is clear shown how some persons still live like sauvage. The world is facing a serious challenge beside for you all to pray and support one another. We are talking about locals ,expatriates drama. Ignorance is a boss .please take this time to look after your neighbors and families. Pray and assist in a educating others about the danger of this virus.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  11. Concern says:

    I see far too many vehicles motor bikes and human on the streets of eastend just moving around for day 1.i also see the popo making their rounds but missing some by seconds too late

  12. Anonymous says:

    An Italian doctor writes: #Corona #Virus

    There is a terrible tragedy happening in our country. The old patients are tears before they die.

    They don’t have the opportunity to take away from the close ones. They didn’t want to die alone, but they had to say goodbye to camera.

    They are dying in wisdom, to bear all the troubles. In most cases, husband and wife are dying on the same day. Old Grandparents, grandparents are not able to see their grandchildren for the last time.

    This disease is more dangerous than flu. Believe me, it’s a different disease than flu. Please don’t call this disease so flu.

    Fever is impossible. The patient’s breath wants to come off in such a way as if he is drowning. The patients don’t want to come to the hospital.

    They are forced to get a little oxygen.

    Very few medicines work against this disease. We’re trying to help, but everything depends on the patient’s condition.

    The old patients are not able to fight with the disease.

    We are crying. Our nurses are crying. We can’t save everyone alive.

    I see the life of the machine stop in front of the eyes. Lots of patients are coming. We’ll need more bed soon. Everyone is the same problem. General Pneumonia. Very strong pneumonia.

    Tell me which flu gives birth to this tragedy?

    It’s very contagious. This virus is totally different.

    It is dangerous for some people. In our country, about 65 older aged people have diabetes, high blood pressure, or any disease. For some young people, this disease is dangerous.

    If you see these young patients, no young people can feel relaxed with themselves.

    There is no surgery in our hospital. Children’s birth, eye operation, or skin treatment.

    Surgery rooms have been converted into intensive care unit.

    Everyone is fighting against the virus. The number of patients is increasing every hour. The test result is coming out. All positive. Positive. Positive!

    All patients are kind of common:

    Impossible fever.

    Breath is pain.

    Cough.

    Feeling like drowning.

    Almost everyone is taking treatment in intensive care. Some can’t breathe even under oxygen mask. Oxygen Machine is more expensive than gold.

    I can’t believe how fast this happened! We are all tired.

    But no one wants to stop. Everyone is working till midnight. Doctors continue to work continuously like nurses. I don’t go home for two weeks. I’m afraid of my family’s old members.

    Talking to the children using the camera. Sometimes I cry by looking at the picture of the wife. We don’t have any fault.

    For those who told us this disease is not so dangerous, all their guilt. They said it was a common kind of flu. No action has been taken. And now it’s too late.

    Please don’t get out of the house. Listen to us. Don’t get out of the house without emergency reasons.

    Use Simple Mask. Let us use the professional months.

    Our Health is also at risk due to lack of mask. Some of the doctors are now affected.

    Many of their families are at the moment of life and death. So try to save yourself. Don’t let the elderly family get out of the house.

    We can’t stay at home because of our profession. Until the last moment, we are trying to save our patients.

    Unfortunately, we are returning home with disease and broken heart. I am trying to reduce the pain of the body of those who can’t save. If everything is fine tomorrow, everyone will forget about us. This is the profession of doctors.

    That’s why I’m trying to save people.

    Be careful even if this disease does not touch you. Stay away from the public. Don’t go to the movie, don’t go to the museum, don’t go to the field of the playground.

    Please try to feel the sadness of the old people. Their life is in your hands. And you are able to save the lives of more people than we are. You are the only one who can protect them.

    Who will be spared?

  13. amy says:

    the situation is serious and everyone needs to appreciate that social distance does work and helps to flatten the curve and help the health care workers who are really today’s superheros. That said, it is just as important that people stay healthy and in all the other countries where shelter in place has been imposed, getting outside for exercise and walking around the neighborhood has been encouraged, not threatened with jail and fines. Getting some exercise helps stay healthy – most can’t do that in their homes or yards. It isn’t complicated, no cars, no beaches, just some walking around time with social distance from the neighbors…. helps everyone! Love and respect

  14. strupes says:

    Too late now…maybe next time around…ports already closed

  15. nervous island says:

    Better build a bigger prison and provide a bed and three meals a day for three months, free medical help and pastoral care, Some punishment!

  16. What!!! says:

    Simple remedy , any one driving around who should not be drive them home and impound their vehicle until we are allowed out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    JOKERS, you are going to do nothing but stop and warn them… Why bother making a law?

  18. Defence lawyer says:

    The COVID-19 Control and Suppression (Miscellaneous & Provisisons)Act of 2020 has not been published in the BVI Gazette yet. The next issue of the Gazette will be released on Thurs. 2 April and that is when it becomes a law.

  19. ? says:

    What was Cline’s fine? He even admitted he would break the law. Taking the p out of the police and HOA and disrespecting and endangering all of us

  20. Sly Mongoose says:

    I don’t understand what all the complaining is about. The government is trying its best to contain the virus, which is the most important thing at this time. Compliance should be automatic. Look at some of the other islands, cases through the roof! A lot of steps that the VIP government has implemented early in the fight was not taken by those other islands. Things are quickly escalating! We cannot deal with an epidemic anywhere in the Caribbean.

  21. Westman says:

    Nah…keep your a** home.

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