Councillor Kari Douglas was arrested Tuesday night and charged for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act and disorderly conduct after being accused of breaching the curfew order implemented in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis across the island.
She was arrested and charged by officers from the Constant Spring Police in St Andrew. Reports are that about 9.28 pm, Douglas was stopped along Meadowbrook Avenue and failed to identify herself as a member of the essential service as laid down by the law.
The report said she became boisterous and started hurling abusive language stating that the police were “idiots” and “dunce” to the annoyance and disturbance of the public.
She was bailed at the sum of $20,000 and will appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on May 6, 2020 to answer the charges.
However, Douglas, who is a two-term Trafalgar division councillor, said that the police erred in the performance of their duties. She argued that she should not have been charged in the first place because “mayors and councillors are exempt under the Disaster Risk Management Act”.
“I was definitely not treated fairly. How can you charge a Councillor for breaching a law from which she is exempt. This is definitely politics at play man,” Douglas told Loop News.
“What else could it be? How do you charge someone who is exempt after determining her identity? Imagine, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and TC came to identify me and they were completely ignored? How? Why?
SSP Mcgregor came and also could identify me and nothing changed! How? Why?” she asked.
According to paragraph 9A(2) of the Disaster Risk Management Act, “persons engaged in the transportation of manufactured products; persons employed to Factories as defined by the Factories Act; Mayors and councillors of Municipal Corporation” are accorded special privileges at this time, and can be on the road legally outside hours stipulated in the act.
Douglas is the fiery councillor who ditched the People’s National Party (PNP) to join the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in February 2020.
Asked about her alleged loud behaviour and disorderly conduct, she denied those charges vehemently.
“Completely erroneous. No sah. They were recording me. Why hasn’t the tape been released?” the daughter of late former PNP Cabinet Minister, Easton Douglas, said.
In the meantime, police officers at Constant Spring police station have alleged that a senior officer attempted to compromise the investigation.
“At about 10.30 pm, SSP Steve McGregor attended this police station stating that he was sent by the Commissioner of Police to intervene in the matter. He questioned the police as to why he was charging the councillor and that he was to hurry up and advised her that the entire completion of the CR form was not relevant. McGregor went on to ridicule the team. So if Steve came and she was charged after the intervention of a senior officer, you can know she was really carrying on like a virago,” a source at the station said.
“All that was expected of her is a little respect and dignity shown to the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country. The mayor and deputy mayor who were also present were told that the law is the law and respect must be shown,” the source continued.
Police on Monday charged six men who were caught in bar in Falmouth, Trelawny during the hours of the daily islandwide curfew imposed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The men were each charged with breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the government will extend the current nightly curfew. The seven day curfew which was originally scheduled to end on Wednesday, April 8) was instituted by the government in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis across the island.