A Westmoreland man, who was arrested and charged after he was held with several exotic birds and a tortoise shortly before midday on Tuesday, was fined $1 million when he appeared in the night-court session of the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court a few hours later.
Edward Williams, a 49-year-old retiree of Water Works in the parish, was charged with breaching the Endangered Species Protection Conservation and Regulation of Trade Act. He pleaded guilty.
Williams was held by the police when he was found with three macaws, four green Amazon parrots, and a Brazilian tortoise, which he had illegally imported into the island.
According to police reports, sometime after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, members of the Westmoreland Highway Patrol were conducting vehicular spot checks along the Ferris main road in the parish, when they signaled a blue Isuzu pickup truck to stop.
When the vehicle stopped, the police observed three cages containing the exotic birds.
Williams, who arrived on the scene minutes later, claimed ownership of the birds; however, when asked to produce the certificates required under the law to own the birds, he could not.
The act states that anyone who "trades in any specimen of a species without a permit or certificate commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction before a resident magistrate to a fine not exceeding $2 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and imprisonment".
If Williams fails to pay the fine, he will face a three-month jail term.