Low penalty for wildlife crimes frustrates court

court newsA Roseau magistrate and a state prosecutor have lamented the small penalty that can be imposed by the court on persons who have been convicted of hunting wildlife when the season is closed.

Magistrate Candia Carette-George and prosecutor, Inspector Claude Weekes, are of the view that the law needs to be revisited given the “small penalty which can be imposed” for the crime.

Presently the maximum penalty is a mere $400.

“The maximum penalty is very small, something needs to be done…its just a slap on the wrist, the fine is small and something needs to be done,” Carette-George said.

Inspector Weekes also shared her concerns and believe “it is time that the legislators revisit the penalty for the crime.”

The comments were made after 35-year-old Mawema George of Morne Jaune was arrested for hunting wildlife during the closed season.

The police in La Plaine had received information that George was selling turtle meat and applied for and obtained a search warrant for his home.

The lawmen encountered George on their way to his house and his vehicle was searched.

Turtle meat was found in the vehicle and more found at his home.

When questioned George told police that he was not the one responsible for hunting and killing the turtle, but was merely assisting some other persons in the community. However, he refused to disclose their names to the police.

“I will take the fall…I did not kill the turtles, I was home when I was called to assist,” George stated.

He was fined the maximum $400.00 to be paid by June 30, 2013 in default 2 months jail.

“I wish that I could have fined you more…but the authorities need to take another look at that law because people are killing and selling the turtles, making all their monies and coming and pay a small fine,” Carette-George said.

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35 Comments

  1. Frabo
    June 23, 2013

    There is a great lesson and example given in Noah’s day, when he put the animals male and female into the ark – to preserve them. Having laws on periodic hunting to preserve our wild life has shown failure in achieving the goal of replenishing of all, or certain animal species. Ever country where there are hunting laws, rules and regulations for “breeding season etc, for animals, have had some indication of depletion in one or more animal species. Why? we need to care for these animals in a more direct contact method. A small example would be to have, let’s say 1,000 crabs in a suitable environment for survival and breeding. Then you do the same for frogs and other game animals, or animal of choice. At the same time jobs are created and animal research could follow. The holding place (s) for these animals could generate further income through tourist attraction means. This could also be a place to take young school Children to enable them to gain certain knowledge about these creatures. This is indeed a very small idea. But much can be done with the simplest of things. I still think that Government Ministers take pleasure in taxing its citizens. They get a kick out of that. They like to see you rally, demonstrate, cry and beg them; because they are the ones causing you pain, and they think that they only could ease you pain. They call it, “POLITICS.”

  2. juan
    June 16, 2013

    Will they prosecute the whalers on Japanese whaling ships if the come into Dominican waters and start killing the whales which hang around off Roseau?

  3. Affection8
    June 14, 2013

    Give people a break. people in the country hungry. God put food for people to eat and you all want to tell them when and how to eat in such a hard country where money scarce. give me a break.

  4. purple city
    June 14, 2013

    They want to kill us but when is those chinese n haitian nationals they goin 3, tel them jugdes n police ….,…………………………

  5. PC
    June 14, 2013

    Some of these DUMMYnicans really need to think before they open their traps.Yes, I agree wild life should be protected but how can this magistrate and inspector talk about more severe penalties for people who hunt when the season is closed? There are murders walking free as can be, no shit is given and you want to kill a man because he have some turtle meat? You all acting like you’re so pro-life, why not start with HUMAN LIFE. What is the point of being so strict with protecting wildlife when human life is taken so lightly? Come again.

    • piti woche
      June 14, 2013

      For over two 2000 years we’ve been hearing Thou shalt not kill. It does not say wether it’s people, animals, or people nor animals. I would like to hear the preachers use their “Thus saith the Lord on this one.

  6. Magistrate
    June 14, 2013

    If I was the judge I would fine him $400 for EACH TURTLE!

  7. Blue Ray
    June 14, 2013

    It is a cause for concern,but tell the judge there are much bigger things she should also be concern about like,”persons committing murder and spending a week in jail”.$1300.00 for a marjuana joint,but $300.00 for attempted murder.Tell these judges get a reality check.

  8. piti woche
    June 13, 2013

    Some of the comments here give me cause for concern. There are some animals that are endangered or could be endangered if hunting continues or continues out of season.

    That means our children may never hope to see a live one if we just kill the animals that we cannot grow. You want to eat meat? Grow them. Leave wildlife for dire emergencies.

    What happens if we endanger all our wildlife and a situation develops that prevents food from coming into Dominica?

    Man have a brain in his head for a reason. We must use it.

  9. Concerned
    June 13, 2013

    I love the way this magistrate operates, you should take a look at the police officers, they are engaging in hunting :killing turtles and selling the meat, helping the others cook pot on the road side specifically in the Wesley Area, where there is an increase of turtle sitings on the shore

  10. June 13, 2013

    excuse me?

    • same
      June 14, 2013

      Who are you Krazy T man, with your “excuse me?”

  11. DonK.
    June 13, 2013

    It’s all them pesticides and weedicides that have been killing our wild life together with the deforestation of breeding areas.

    People used to live off the land and there was more than enough wildlife to sustain them all year round and people still using the same old methods of catching them things today.

    • Frabo
      June 23, 2013

      “Donk” you are right on point. Deforestation has and is doing more harm to our wildlife than any other destroyer. We must STOP DEFORESTATION NOW. This place in which I live is one heck of a joke!!
      Dominica not ready yet….

  12. A Voice
    June 13, 2013

    :mrgreen:

    Boy we really have a kangaroo court in this country… $400 for a whole turtle and $1200 for a roach?

    A little pun…

  13. Jay
    June 13, 2013

    It does not help when people in high places, educated to know better and living in upmarket communities feast on turtle with their friends without blinking an eye. Whomsoever fits the cap, wear it.

  14. Anonymous
    June 13, 2013

    The LaPlaine Police Officers are so vigilant to charge locals for hunting turtles, why didn’t they exhibit that same vigilance when the Chinese were caught with the crayfish in the Tabarie River. Why weren’t they charged? Are they above the law?

    • June 13, 2013

      Do you not know the Chinese will always be above our natives? Have you not notice that we suffer the consequences of the foreigners? We rather people of other countries as opposed to our own people. Time will tell.

      • June 14, 2013

        What does your comment have to do with hunting wild life out of season and being charged with doing so? Why can’t some of us write more sensible comments and have a real good discussion about the issues in the news? It does not mean we all have to agree with each other, but some of us should use our common sense in making comments.

  15. lola
    June 13, 2013

    boy all you making me laugh.ask those forestry officers in laplaine if they use to hep them fellers to eat the meat too

  16. Frabo
    June 13, 2013

    Doninica would be better, safer and more productive, if the efforts given to apprehending and prosecuting poachers, were given to apprenending and prosecuting BIG time Drug dealers. All you just playing beh-bell.

  17. Frabo
    June 13, 2013

    What happened to our Original Culture of “Hunters and Gatherers?” Our ancestors must be turning in their graves, to know that their off-springs are being punished for practicing the original way of survival. So if a driver run-over a Crab in the street, he/she should be punished too?

  18. June 13, 2013

    so whats your opinon,do you think that they should go unpunish?

    • June 13, 2013

      Not really, but the same punishment should be applied to EVERYONE.

    • Frabo
      June 23, 2013

      Yes! there should be no punishment to people who are out there hunting for meat/sustainance for their home and family. There needs to be a better approach to deal with the wild life issue. One that will ensure the continuation of these animals breeding, without having a “season” for hunting. I have a brilliant idea that would work, and even create some jobs. But who in government will take my advice, or even listen to me! They think that they know it all. Enough tax, already on the poor people. We can do better as a society. But when fools rule, the poor becomes hopeless and helpless.

  19. Anonymous
    June 13, 2013

    That definitely shows a huge turnaround in our thinking. I recall when these wildlife preservation laws were first implemented most people at the time were of the opinion that such incidents should go unpunished.

  20. June 13, 2013

    people killing people any season and still go free but they want stiffer penalty for a man killing an animal.season or not a man should be able to eat any animal he want’s

    • June 13, 2013

      I ate a lot of opossum in my day, back home. Almost every weekend. Crabs (cirique) when rainy with young dasheen leaves, coconut milk and dumpling, and bambawoolei yam. Thank God there were no laws at that time.

  21. Jus Saying
    June 13, 2013

    U mean to tell me up to now Forestry and Wildlife cannot do something about that legislation man? they always on radio lamenting the amount but years now nothing has been done! Makes me wonder y those civil servants not doing their jobs…that legislation on the books for so long, jus like others such as planning, environment and environmental health, traffic, etc and they all seat their butt on their chairs every day 9-5 and 9-4 and not doing nothing to change things….is so i meet it we rings through the hallways and offices of all government buildings nationwide, but they will call and say government eh doing this and that!

    • DCW
      June 13, 2013

      Public officers (Civil Servants) do not make or change laws. Do your research.

    • Elector
      June 14, 2013

      You know what is really wrong wih this comment? the ‘blogger” seemingly speeks with authority on something he knows lettle about or care to learn about. His submission speaks of someone who has an axe to grind lamenting about everything in Dominica. What stupidity. And that is exactly what we get on a daily basis on our talkshows. Someone picks up a story or issue, speaks hogwash in a very, eloquent, intelligent, organized and persuasive way. Keeps you spell bound for hours on end. No matter how well it is packaged, at the end of the day, it still remains hogwash, pure balderdash.

  22. country man
    June 13, 2013

    Doe give up na hawks d country tight is a hustle do wat u ave to do cum smarter on d sin…

  23. john paul
    June 13, 2013

    I thought they could confiscate the pickup?

  24. Toma
    June 13, 2013

    Ten thousand dollars would be a better fine

    • Kaka Bouwik
      June 13, 2013

      Make it 25,000 and five years in jail then i’ll support the law.How about confiscating the vehicle(s) involved in transporting the wildlife or its carcass? Give me something better than the what you have at present. The honourable Lady and my good friend Mr Weeks are correct.Time to update ALL our laws.

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