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Father and son charged for having protected robins

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

A FATHER and son were yesterday placed on a one-year bond after they admitted to having robins, protected birds, in their possession.

Farmers Ramesh Ramcharan, 54; and Ravi Ramcharan, 23; and their friend Narie Ramsumair, 34; all of San Francique will all have to keep the peace for 12 months. Should they breach the bond, they will return to court to be sentenced.

The elder Ramcharan and Ramsumair were ordered to pay fines of $750 for hunting the birds.

San Fernando Magistrate Margaret Alert said for years, magistrates have been calling for an increase in the $1,000 fine and three-month penalties for such offences.

"Lawlessness is extending into the wildlife," she said yesterday, suggesting a campaign be launched to educate the public on protected species.

At around 5.30 p.m. last Saturday, game warden Andrew George was on duty along the New Cut Channel River in Pluck Road, Woodland, when he saw the men standing with bird cages on the western side of the river bank. He and other officers saw that Ramesh Ramcharan and Ramsumair had bird cages with open traps.

The four cages contained five robins. Before the court yesterday, the men said the birds were not for sale but rather to be kept.

Ravi Ramcharan said he was unaware it was an offence to have the robins.

"You are not supposed to have them. You are supposed to get a particular licence," Alert warned.

She suggested to the game wardens that public education on protected birds and animals should be done via the media. This, she said, would prevent others from coming before the court with similar excuses.

For having the birds, all three men were placed on a $2,500 bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months.

Ramesh Ramcharan and Ramsumair were given two weeks to pay the $750 fine or serve two months hard labour for hunting the birds.

Ravi Ramcharan who pleaded not guilty to the latter charge was ordered to continue on the $10,000 own bail and return to court on April 9, 2013.

The magistrate ordered the birds be rehabilitated and released into the wild.

Game wardens Bishan Madhu, Rennie Loknath, Ravi Rampesad, Lawrence Barclay, Sheldon Bartholomew and Nicole Roach were all involved in the arrests.

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