A 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.