Tuesday 19 November, 2019

10 things you may not know are illegal in Trinidad and Tobago

Photo via Unsplash.

Photo via Unsplash.

How much do you know about the laws of Trinidad and Tobago? Here are a few that you probably didn't know existed:

 

1. Clotheslines in the street

Everyone knows about airing one's dirty laundry in public, but in T&T it's actually illegal to hang clothes out to dry in the streets. 

Under the Section 64 (1) of the Summary Offences Act, "Any person who commits any of the following offences in any street is, for each offence, liable to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for one month, that is to say, any person who:

(e) hangs or places any clothes on any line or cord projecting over any part of any street, or on any wall, fence or paling abutting upon any street".

 

2. Sleeping/loitering in public 

Sleeping or loitering in public? You could be given a $200 fine or imprisoned for up to one month if you don't have a good enough reason for doing so.

Under the Section 64 (1) of the Summary Offences Act: "A person committing any of the offences mentioned below in this section may be deemed an idle and disorderly person, and shall be liable to a fine of two hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for one month—

(c) any person found sleeping or loitering in or under any building, including any open outhouse, verandah, gallery, passage, or gateway, or in any vehicle or vessel, without leave of the owner, occupier or person in charge thereof, or on or under any wharf, quay, jetty, bridge, footway, or in any street or other public place, and not giving a good account of himself".

 

3. Begging 

Begging, or encouraging others to beg, is liable to a $200 charge or up to one month in jail under Section 45 of the Summary Offences Act. 

"45. A person committing any of the offences mentioned below in this section may be deemed an idle and disorderly person, and shall be liable to a fine of two hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for one month—

"(b) any person wandering abroad or placing himself in any street to beg or gather alms, or causing or procuring or encouraging any child to do so".

 

4. Fortune telling

Don't even think of pulling out those Tarot cards, because under the Summary Offences Act, you'd be breaking the law. 

"45. A person committing any of the offences mentioned below in this section may be deemed an idle and disorderly person, and shall be liable to a fine of two hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for one month—

(e) any person pretending or professing to tell fortunes."

 

5. Trundling a hoop/hoop rolling in the street

Hoop rolling, also called hoop trundling, is both a sport and a child's game in which a large hoop is rolled along the ground, generally by means of an object wielded by the player. The aim of the game is to keep the hoop upright for long periods of time, or to do various tricks.

Sadly, this pastime is illegal to do in public, according to the Summary Offences Act.

"64. (1) Any person who commits any of the following offences in any street is, for each offence, liable to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for one month, that is to say, any person who (k) trundles a hoop;"

 

6. Being drunk in public

We all know driving while drunk is illegal, but under the Summary Offences Act just walking about in public while inebriated is enough to land you a $100 fine. 

"52. (1) Any person found drunk in any street or other public place, whether a building or not, is liable to a fine of one hundred dollars."

Being drunk and causing a disturbance hikes up the punishment to a $200 fine and possible jail time.

"52 (2) Any person who, in any street or other public place, whether a building or not, is drunk and disorderly, or who in any street or public place, is drunk while in charge of any vehicle or cattle, or is guilty of any riotous, indecent, or disorderly behaviour, or of insulting, obstructing, or annoying any passenger therein, or who, in any Government Office, Summary Court, or Police Station, or in any place of public entertainment, is guilty of riotous, indecent or disorderly behaviour, is liable to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for two months."

 

7. Naked children

It's actually illegal for parents to allow children over the age of five to be naked in the streets. Under Section 64 of the Summary Offences Act:

"64. (1) Any person who commits any of the following offences in any street is, for each offence, liable to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for one month, that is to say, any person who:

(g) being a parent or guardian or person standing in the relation of parent or guardian to any child above the age of five years, permits such child to go naked."

 

8. Importing or owning a mongoose

There are some creatures that are just not allowed as pets in T&T and a mongoose is one of them.

Under Section 4 of the Mongoose Act:

"4. (1) No person shall keep or have in his possession any live mongoose. (2) Any person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars."

 

9. Washing cars in public

Planning to wash your car? Don't do it in the street, or you might get in trouble with the law, according to Section 64 of the Summary Offences Act.

S64(1)(a) says anyone who "makes, repairs, washes, or cleans any vehicle (except in case of accident where repair on the spot is necessary)" in any street is liable to a fine of $200 or imprisonment for up to one month. 

 

10. Beating animals

While many think it's cruel to beat an animal, not many know it's actually illegal.

Under Section 79 (1) of the Summary Offences Act: "Any person who cruelly beats, ill-treats, starves, overdrives, overrides, overloads, abuses, tortures, or otherwise maltreats any animal is liable to a fine of four hundred dollars or to imprisonment for two months."

Do you think some of these laws should be reviewed?

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