Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi believes the discussion on whether the recent pool party at Bayside Towers was public or private can be debated but not as easy to interpret.
“The issue of regulating how condominiums or housing schemes such as Bayside Towers or HDC Apartments operate is open but you have to be very careful,” Al-Rawi said.
In a telephone interview with Guardian Media on Thursday Al-Rawi said he has witnessed similar gatherings at HDC complexes, where police officers simply gave warnings to those gathered.
“The basketball court at Embacadere is an example where we have public gatherings etc and we have to be very care to urge people to comply with the law,” Al-Rawi said.
A condominium is a large property complex divided into individual units and sold. Ownership usually includes a nonexclusive interest in certain “community property” controlled by the condominium management.
The main difference with an Apartment Complex and Condo is ownership.
However the Attorney General said he cannot comment on the Bayside Towers issue as he was not present when the police intervened but admitted that it has gotten their attention and they will wait on advice from Public Health Experts.
“The issues of the regulations are always under observation and there are amended from time to time,” Al Rawi said.
Earlier this year the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram explained what was the difference between a private and public space.
“What the public space is defined as Indoor or outdoor area whether privately or publicly owned to which the public have access by right or invitation,” he said
“But not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering. This is where weddings, receptions will fall into,” he continued.
Dr Parasram said a public space was defined in a number of legislations such as the anti-smoking legislation.
Criminal Attorney Criston J Williams opted to use another definition for a public space that was the one used in the Cheryl Miller and The North West Regional Health Authority case.
The Act defined a public place as “any place to which the public has access with or without payment.” Justice Judith Jones said that Miller’s cubicle was not a public place.
On that basis Williams said Bayside Towers could be a public space based on the invitation.
“Once the activities that happened at Bayside Towers falls within that said definition it could be considered a public space, “he said.
He said each person at that party had a responsibility to not gather and can therefore be charged.
“I think that everyone could be charged for being in a public space because they failed to remove themselves from an environment where an offence is being perpetrated,” Williams said.
Williams said he can’t be certain on whether Sunday’s incident was one of different strokes for different folks but said he knows about persons who were in places where they thought were private who have been arrested and will wait on the result of the police investigation.