The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was placed on a 24-hour curfew — a total lockdown — from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Friday, April 3 in the first instance, and the public is warned anyone outside of the recognized essential workers who is found in breach of the curfew will be charged as outlined in the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020.

“The Emergency Powers Act do provide for penalties to those who would be in breach of the Emergency Powers Regulations and indeed it provides for a fine not exceeding $5000 or a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both and to forfeiture of any good or money in respect of which the offence has been committed,” said Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while responding to a caller’s question during Tuesday’s edition of  ‘Leadership Matters’, a virtual forum on ZIZ TV.“So, we have three categories, a fine of $5000, you could also be fined and sentenced to jail and additionally, any of these three can go together — a fine, a term of imprisonment or the forfeiture of goods or money.”

Prime Minister Harris said that persons should avoid breaking the law. He noted that persons doing what they are asked and staying indoors would benefit everyone.

“We are hoping that we wouldn’t have to go there. If everyone acts sensibly and responsibly, we can overcome this particular pandemic and we can do so without any significant losses of life in St. Kitts and Nevis, which is what we really want. To prevent any significant loss of life is where we are at now,” said the prime minister.

Dr. Harris encouraged persons to respect the law and continue to remain at home.

“And that is why through the Emergency Powers Act, we have sought to impose the discipline upon people of staying at home. Stay at home unless there is an overriding or compelling reason for you to want to leave your house,” he said. “And that is why we have identified a limited category of persons largely described as essential workers who will be out there helping and fighting to keep us safe and we want them to be free enough to be able to go about doing their work unencumbered by other persons as it were.”

As it stands, since the SRO 9 of 2020 (The New Regulations), Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020 took effect on March 31 at 7 p.m. no one, except the Security Forces and other Security Personnel, the Health Care Officers, Technical Emergency Officers of Utilities including Telecoms, and Media Personnel, will be allowed out of their residences.

Saving Lives the Most Important Reason to Institute Curfew

The prime minister said the most important reason for the curfew is to save and secure the lives of the people of the Federation in abnormal times, noting that the country is undergoing a war with the COVID-19 virus.

“When a nation is at war, things have to be done differently,” he said, noting all the resources in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis are directed towards fighting the virus. “This is because in war, everyone will be impacted negatively.”

The prime minister said that though it may be an inconvenience, the residents of St. Kitts and Nevis should not be deterred.

“To save lives, you are put under a curfew for the next 48 hours … to save your life, that of your family and members of the community,” he said.