A MAGISTRATE yesterday applauded the decision to clear the streets of San Fernando of the socially displaced.
“You all are a nuisance out there. ... Everyday you pass a number of homeless people sleeping there (on Knox Street, San Fernando) and it is against the law,” Magistrate Rae Roopchan said.
He advised the men that instead of sleeping on the streets they could have a bath, a meal and a bed at Court Shamrock, a centre for the socially displaced at Independence Avenue, San Fernando.
The magistrate was also advised there was a night shelter next to Court Shamrock. But most of the men said they were not homeless.
Anthony Duncan, 57, said he had a wife and children; Amardeo Birjoo said he had a brother; Steve Ramroop, 32, said he had been staying with his girlfriend at Pleasantville; Paul Dookhie, 42, and Richard Ackaloo, 49, said they were drinking and ended up at Knox Street.
Errol Edwards, 60, said he lived at Court Shamrock but was on Knox Street after being discharged from the hospital.
Mervin Vincent, 65, admitted he was homeless and after speaking in court he was sent to St Ann’s Hospital for observation and report along with Zainool Habib, 55.
Timothy Bengochea, 69, said he had a sister but lived on the streets.
Andrew John ,49, was remanded in custody until Tuesday for tracing and sentencing.
The court heard it was around 10.25 p.m. on Thursday, at Knox Street, San Fernando, that the defendants were sleeping at the side of the roadway.
Special reserve police officers woke the men and told them of the offence of sleeping on a public street. The men were then arrested and charged after they were unable to give a proper account for themselves.
Roopchan commended the drive.
The men, whose cases were concluded, were ordered to pay $200 fines forthwith or serve 30 days in prison.