Activist Luzette King has been charged in connection with an incident in which, in her words, she “ran to hell out” of Argyle International Airport (AIA).
On Monday, King, 67, was charged that on Jan. 30, at the Argyle International Airport, she entered the state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by air and did not present herself in person to the nearest immigration officer.
The police public relations department said that King appeared, on Monday, before a virtual court hearing and was granted bail in the sum of $2,000 with one surety.
iWitness News was reliably informed that King appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne.
Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste represented King.
Another hearing will be held, on Thursday, to determine whether her quarantine should continue in a hotel, where she is currently staying, or at a house where she lives alone.
King, a retired nurse, was born in Curacao of Vincentian parents and was, therefore, Vincentian from birth.
She later obtained United States citizenship and travelled to SVG using her US passport.
In a Jan. 31 Facebook live video, King explained what had occurred at AIA, after she arrived on a flight from the United States the previous day.
She said that, in keeping with the health protocols, she had a negative result for a COVID-19 test that was less than 72 hours old and, at AIA, was also swabbed for another test.
King, however, had not booked a 14-day quarantine stay at a hotel, she said in the Facebook broadcast.
She explained that no one had checked up on her during her five-day in-hotel or nine-day at-home quarantine when she returned to St. Vincent in September 2020.
During that time, King said, she checked her own temperature and blood pressure and toward the end of the nine days, she thought she had to call someone and get clearance, lest she be accused of breaking quarantine.
“I am a responsible person. I am not taking COVID lightly,” King said.
She said that when she called a number she had secured, she realised that she had reached the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) — the government agency managing the pandemic.
King said that NEMO told her that there was no doctor or nurse there, with whom she could consult.
“The young lady insisted that she wanted to talk with me about what I wanted to talk to her about. And I got pissed with her,” King said of the September 2020 conversation.
“I said, ‘Are you a nurse?’ She said, ‘No.’
“’Are you a doctor?’ She said, ‘No.’ Ah say, ‘Well ah doh wa’ talk to you.’”
King said she told the NEMO staffer that she could take her (King’s) name and number and ask a doctor or nurse to call her (King).
“To this day, nobody called me. So I was basically on my own for all of the 14 days. And I said to myself, ‘I could do this on my own. I don’t need to spend EC$4,000 to siddung and watch four walls when I could be at home with food, do my exercises, do my steam inhalations to keep COVID at bay. So I decided I’m going to go home,” King said, as she explained her actions at the airport on Jan. 30.
“The decision that was made yesterday was a political one,” King further said in the Jan. 31 video, adding that, at AIA, the authorities had offered her two choices.
She was either to book a 14-day quarantine there and then or go back on the plane.
“And yes, I ran to hell out, because I thought my taxi woulda been there and I woulda go in that taxi,” she said.
“I would’na make him drive away but I’da give them hell to get me out of that vehicle. That’s why I ran out,” King said.
“… honestly, I followed every instruction, everything they asked me to do, I did. The only thing I refused to do was to book a 14-day quarantine…
“At no time did anybody offer to swab me or to take my temperature or anything of the kind. Nobody did. And somebody might have to pay for saying reliably that Luzette King refused to be swabbed for a COVID test,” she said.