(BARBADOS TODAY) — A same-sex couple has been sentenced to six months in prison for breaking the country’s COVID-19 curfew.
Eighteen-year-old Jonathan Jeremiah Browne and Shiamar Tashaka Callender, 34, both of 8th Avenue Harts Gap, Christ Church pleaded guilty to disobeying a national directive and being outdoors on April 12 around 8:05 p.m.
Browne also admitted to driving a motorcar along Lower Collymore Rock, St Michael on the same day when he was not the holder of a driver’s licence.
Sergeant Vernon Waithe in reading the facts said police received information that Browne stole a motorcar from a residence. He was stopped and asked for his licence which he was unable to provide.
As the prosecutor spoke Browne reacted to being referred to as “he”.
Waithe asked him: “What would you like me to refer to you as?”
Browne responded: “She”.
The prosecutor complied.
Sergeant Waithe then told the court that police asked the two their reason for being on the road at the time and they responded: “We thought the curfew was at 8 p.m. We went to St James to get something to eat and was going home.”
Both accused are known to the court. Browne has a previous traffic conviction for driving without a licence.
In her explanation, Browne stated that while she knew that driving without a licence was wrong, “I was only driving on the road because I wanted something to eat.”
She went to her father’s house so he could drive her to her mother’s in St James to get food. But her father refused even though she had been asking for sometime. “When I got angry I took the keys off my father’s bed and drive to my mother’s.”
However, she said on returning she spotted police patrol.
“I start to panic a little and the patrol put on the siren. I indicate and I stopped. They asked if I had licence I said yes. They ask if I had licence again I said yes. They ask us to step behind the vehicle and then took us to the . . . police station,” Browne recalled.
She added that her father was outside his Britton’s Hills home when she took up the keys and left.
“But there is a reason why. The truth is I use to work the streets . . . with my father especially. I was working on Bush Hill. It was me and my father. He was my pimp,” Browne disclosed adding that she started working at age 16.
Callender meanwhile in his defence said: “Jonathan’s mother told us to come by her to get some food to eat. She told us to go by Jonathan’s father and ask him to drop us there.”
Asked what was his relationship with Browne, Callender looked to Browne and said: “We are friends”. But Browne replied: “Boyfriend and girlfriend”.
Magistrate Wayne Clarke asked Callender why did he have to look at Browne for an answer and he replied: “Sir I just wanted to make sure.”
He then continued with his explanation saying Diamond referring to Browne, asked her father for “over half an hour to just drop her by her mom”. But he said the father’s Guyanese girlfriend asked him not to do it because of COVID-19.
Callender added: “I tell Jonathan don’t let these people belittle him and come let’s go. But he said he was not leaving because it was his father.”