Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith.

Commissioner of Police (CoP), Gary Griffith, says it is an offence under the Public Health Ordinance Regulations for persons to swim in the sea during this COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Commissioner was clarifying the recent regulation which came into effect on August 17, following an announcement by the Honourable Prime Minister two days earlier.

He raised the issue in light of the case of a fisherman in Tobago, who was arrested earlier this week. He was charged for breaching the regulations after he was found swimming in the sea.

Commissioner Griffith points out that Section 3(1) of the Public Health Coronavirus Regulations states:

“For the purposes of controlling and preventing the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), it shall be an offence, during the period specified in regulation 12, for any person to be found at or in any beach, river, stream, pond, spring or similar body of water or any public pool…”

The CoP says:

“…any person who contravenes this regulation commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for six months.”

He notes there was some uncertainty as to the true meaning of the latest regulations with respect to persons owning boats and travelling down the islands.

Commissioner Griffith issued the following guidelines:

  1. Persons are permitted to use their boats to visit island homes, and make trips to areas down the islands;
  1. There is to be no swimming from either the boats or from the houses or jetties as per the restrictions for beaches;
  1. There is to be no rafting up (no boats are to be tied or joined together. Boats are to be distanced at least eight feet apart; and
  1. Persons on boats are limited to ONLY immediate family.

The CoP says that both the Coast Guard and the Police Marine Coastal Patrol Unit will patrol the waters to ensure that the regulations are complied with.

He reminds all citizens that Down the Islands form part of Trinidad and Tobago.