Dear Honorable Attorney General,

Firstly, let me congratulate you on being victorious and retaining your seat as San Fernando West in the recently concluded General Elections.

I have been following, with great interest, the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions. Of specific concern to me at this time is the recently passed Public Health Amendment Bill (2020) which gives way for citizens to be fined for not wearing a mask.

Honorable AG, may I remind you that COVID-19 is a once in a lifetime occurrence and is new to everyone. Therefore, wearing a facemask whenever in public is new to all of us. When I saw that homeless people were being charged for not wearing a mask, I wonder where did the compassion that we once had for the downtrodden go. When we should be trying to help these persons who often cannot afford to feed themselves, we find that the legal system condemns them.

Please permit me to say that although not wearing a facemask is a summary offence, and is not a criminal charge, it is my belief that the fines for various levels of infringement can be considered as being harsh.

I ask that you consider setting the fines at:

$300 for first time offenders;

$700 for the second offence;

$1,000 for the third offence;

And $1500 or seven days imprisonment for further offences.

As a senior citizen, a member of the business community, I urge you to revisit this law and also the laws regarding adherence of COVID-19 restrictions even when on private property.

It is my hope that this submission can be considered at this time.

In closing, I remain available to contribute on aspects such as these since I believe that with consultation we can achieve much more that will be acceptable to all strata of society.

Thank you for your kind consideration.


Balliram Maharaj


via email