Monday 28 September, 2020

Attorney: ‘Private’ beach woman may not have flouted COVID-19 rules

Photo: Woman enjoying "private beach". Image taken from video.

Photo: Woman enjoying "private beach". Image taken from video.

A woman who last week bragged in a video that she was on her private beach and therefore not breaking COVID-19 regulations, may not have been in breach of the rules.

As clarified by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service there are no private beaches in this country.

But, according to Attorney Fareed Ali, she may not have violated the regulations under the Public Health Ordinance.

Ali said according to the State Lands Act Chapter 57:01 Section 3 the public area of the beach is a defined area established in law.

He explained that the area between the high water mark and the low water mark belongs to the state and may be deemed public land /space for the purposes of the Act.

Ali said under the Act, once the woman was on private land as she claims she may not be culpable or liable under the regulations since she was not on public land.

Hence, public land/space is that area between those two points.

The Attorney said: “If she is found to be on her private land or for argument sake if not on her private land but someone else's private land once she was not between the high and low water marks she was not on (a) public land /space.

Thus, she may not have violated the Regulations under the Public Health Ordinance.”

“This lends the question if beach goers stay clear of the high water mark by walking the beach front area above the high water mark they may be outside the ambit of the law and be able to circumvent the provision of the Regulation if provision 3 of State Lands Act Chapter 57:01 is so interpreted,” Ali continued.

He added that it could be said that area that lies below the low water mark that is within the sea itself is also outside the public space.

The attorney said anyone using this argument could “avoid the heavy hand of the law if specifically found in that location” as they may be considered to be outside the public space.

“Were one to be caught whilst beyond the high to water mark but short of the low water mark  then one may be caught with one proverbial ‘pants down' and may have to explain oneself since one may lack a defense as the Act so defines,” Ali concluded.

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