Jamaica: Man charged with created public mischief after viral COVID lockdown voice note

By Jamaica Gleaner

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(JAMAICA GLEANER) – The police have nabbed a man they allege is the mastermind behind a viral hoax voice note claiming Westmoreland was being placed under a lockdown because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Law enforcers yesterday said they have charged Zavian Patterson, 37, of an address in Westmoreland, for public mischief.

Patterson, the police said, was charged when he turned himself in to the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station yesterday.

He was accompanied by his attorneys.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte last week dismissed the contents of the voice note, noting that it said the information relating to the lockdown came from her.

“Just so you all know, I have traced the voice and identified the person. I told him no such thing, as he claimed. Don’t think I even know him, and [I] definitely don’t have any number for him to have WhatsApp’d him,” Malahoo Forte said on Twitter, labelling the voice note evidence of public mischief.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has cautioned against the circulation of material related to COVID-19 that is not true.

“As individuals, we have to act in smart ways. Follow advice and information provided by the Government. I urge you, ignore the fake news, stop circulating the nonsense that is being put sometimes out there. Use your own sense of proper context.

“We recognise, in the absence of information, there is a vacuum that will be filled by people who have … sometimes it’s political, but sometimes it’s just mischief, and we can do without that at this stage,” Holness said at a recent press briefing on the novel coronavirus outbreak.


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