The captain of the boat that capsized off  the coast of  Port Royal in December, killing two women, was on Monday fined J$400 (less than four US dollars) in the St. Andrew Parish Court.

Herbert Dowie, 57, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Harbours Act of 1971, including three counts of breaching the Harbour Rules and one count of  operating an unlicensed vessel.

The maximum fine of J$100 was imposed for each count.

Dowie’s lawyer, Hensley Williams, said given the age of the statute, it would be a waste of  judicial time to proceed with the matter and asked that his client be allowed to enter a plea.

Thirty-five year-old Janelle Decasseres of Summit Heights, St Andrew and 45 year-old Edith Petscha of  Evergreen Drive in Hatfield, Manchester drowned during the mishap.

The two women were among a group of 12 persons being transported to Lime Cay when the vessel capsized.

Dowie was charged as the vessel, F/V Geraldine, was not licensed at the time to carry passengers.

Chuck

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who has been pushing for an increase in fines under several laws, reacted strongly to the latest decision, telling  RJR News that his office is urging all ministries to send in their submissions for penalties to be adjusted in line with current realities.

He wants to complete the process before the end of  the year.

Mr Chuck said only a few ministries have made submissions so far, and he’s again urging quick action to avoid the embarrassment of having these “contemptuous fines” imposed because the Parish Judge has no option.

“I apologise that these fines still remain, even after I promised that by now most of them should have been updated,” he said.

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