BRIDGE CLEARED: A government crew clears a bridge in Sandy Bay, St Vincent—one of the areas badly affected in the Red Zone—that was blocked by boulders brought down by a flooded river during one of the recent volcanic eruptions.

:—Photos: Sandy Pitt/BARNADOS NATION

Two men accused of committing separate ­burglaries in the La Soufriere volcano Red Zone, in north-eastern St Vincent, have been barred from returning to their home villages without the ­permission of the court, until the all-clear is given.

The volcano began explosive eruptions on April 9, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and destroying farming lands, buildings and ­livestock.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett imposed the ban on Kim Hoyte and Kenny Nanton on Monday, when they each appeared, separately, before the Kingstown Magistrates’ Court.

Nanton pleaded not guilty to a charge that between April 9 and 15, he unlawfully entered the liquor and provision shop of Kenroy Williams as a trespasser and stole a quantity of items, valued at EC$905 (about TT$2,274).

The items included canned fish, meat and ­sausages, biscuits, crackers, 11 bottles of liquor, nine bottles of energy drink and three bottles of stout.

Hoyte pleaded similarly to a charge that on April 13, with intent to commit the offence of burglary, he did an act which was more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence.

Court concerned

Magistrate Burnett granted Hoyte bail in the sum of EC$2,000 (about TT$5,027) with one surety, and ordered him to report to Colonarie Police Station once a week.

The senior magistrate told Hoyte while there is a presumption of innocence, the court was concerned he was returning to Sandy Bay in light of the charge brought against him. He noted the authorities have ordered people to leave the Red Zone and Hoyte was saying he was going back there.

“It’s your call. I am not telling you to be or not to be, or do or not to do. I am just telling you I am concerned,” Burnett said, adjourning the case to April 26.

Nanton, who was arraigned immediately after Hoyte, had initially told the court he was “guilty with an explanation”.

He said he was in De Volet—an area known for marijuana cultivation close to La Soufriere—when the volcano erupted on April 9. Nanton said he walked to his grandmother’s house and then he remembered they have a shop.

Nanton said he took one bottle of strong rum, three tins of beef, and tins of sausages and three packs of biscuits.

“I did not take all of these items,” he told the court, adding: “What would I do with all these items?”

On hearing the man’s explanation, prosecutor Rose-Ann Richardson told the court that the matter should go to trial.

Birthday reminder

The court recorded a not guilty plea and while Richardson did not object to bail, the Crown’s only concern is where Nanton would live, considering he had been ordered out of the emergency shelter.

Nanton told the court that he was going to sleep at a friend’s in Lowmans, but later said he would return to the shelter.

Nanton was granted EC$2,000 bail (about TT$5,027) with one surety, and was ordered to report to Central Police Station once a week. The matter was also adjourned to April 26.

“Which is my birthday,” Nanton said, to which the magistrate responded: “That’s better, you’d ­remember.” —CMC


The Covid-19 death toll jumped again yesterday, with five added deaths being reported by the Ministry of Health.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 196.

The latest deaths included one elderly male and one middle-age male, both with co-morbidities; as well as two middle-age males and one middle-age female, without co-morbidities.

Pandemic tears.

Both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday confessed to being reduced to tears in the face of their “disappointment” over “the response of the national community to pandemic restrictions” and the tragic consequences that flow from it.

The Government deepened and tightened its containment measures from midnight last night, announcing that with the exception of essential services the country goes into extended lockdown until May 23.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the Government to engage all stakeholders to form a united front to fight Covid-19.

“This is a time for humility and not a time for arrogance. The UNC and many stakeholders have been trying to assist since the beginning of this crisis, but the Government has pursued its own way,” Persad-Bissessar stated in a news release yesterday.

A gift of 100,000 vaccines from China will make its way to Trinidad and Tobago from next week, says Health Minister Terrence Deyal­singh.

He added that some 33,600 AstraZeneca vaccines will also be arriving at Piarco on Monday from the COVAX facility.

Speaking yesterday at the Prime Minister’s news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Deyalsingh noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given approval to the Sino­pharm vaccine for emergency use.

NATIONAL flags across the country will be flying at half-mast today as former minister of energy and energy industries Franklin Khan is laid to rest.

Khan’s funeral will be held from 10 a.m. at Aramalaya Presbyterian Church in Tunapuna, with only ten people at the service in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.