by Linda Straker
- 1947 Quarantine Act to be amended to increase penalty for breach of quarantine regulations
- Amendment will be laid in the House on Wednesday, 2 December 2020
- Fine increased to $25,000 with imprisonment for 1 year
Government is amending the 1947 Quarantine Act to increase the penalty for individuals who breach the Quarantine (Covid-19) regulations. At present the maximum fine for breaching the quarantine regulations is EC$10,000.
According to the amendment which will be laid in the House on Wednesday, 2 December 2020, the Bill is seeking to amend section 7 (2) to increase the maximum penalty from a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months, to a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 1 year.
To date, 5 persons are known to be charged by law enforcement for breaching the Covid-19 regulations with the magistrate who dealt with the matter ordering fines ranging between EC$3,000 to EC$5,000. However, because of the nature of the Covid-19 and the impact it can have financially, economically and socially on the country, many citizens have been advocating for an increase in the penalty.
Grenada has recorded 41 laboratory-confirmed cases since the first case was recorded in March with most of the already declared medically recovered. There have been no deaths and no indication of community spread.
This is the first time this legislation, which relates to quarantine and similar matters, is being amended. The 73-year-old legislation provides the Minister for Health with the power to establish a Quarantine Authority and have parliamentarians approve regulations for its effective functioning.
The Quarantine Amendment Bill is also seeking to insert a new section which confers on the Minister the power to make regulations relating specifically to the response to Covid-19 without the requirement for confirmation by the House of Representatives.
“Regulations made under the new section 4A would be subject to negative resolution of the House of Representatives, as opposed to confirmation by the House of Representatives,” is the justification provided in the explanatory notes of the Bill.