Hunters taking Government to court….

South  Eastern Hunters Association

Members of the South Eastern Hunters Association (file photo)

The first hearing for the judicial review that hunters brought challenging Government’s two-year ban on hunting on state lands  is set for the High Court tomorrow.

The ban, which commenced on October 1, was imposed by the Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ganga Singh.  

Singh had said this was necessary to protect certain species of wildlife, such as the agouti, lappe, deer and quenk (wild hog) from going extinct.

Fines for hunting were also increased significantly: a fine of $100,000 or 12 months imprisonment for hunting of any animal in a game sanctuary. This was up from a fine of $1,000 or three months imprisonment. The fine of $100,000 or 12 months imprisonment for taking a dog into a game sanctuary for the purpose of hunting was increased from $1,000 or three months imprisonment.

A fine of $50,000 for each protected animal hunted without a special game licence from the chiefgame warden, up from $1,000 or three months imprisonment. A fine of $50,000 or 12 months imprisonment and disqualification from holding a state game licence, according to the discretion of a magistrate, for hunting on state lands contrary to the Conservation of Wildlife Act. A fine of $100,000 or 24 months imprisonment ,up from $2,000 or six months imprisonment, for hunting in the closed season without a special game licence.

Singh said once the moratorium was put in place, a baseline study would be done in consultation with the University of the West Indies to determine how many animals were in the country.

Attorney representing the hunters are Margaret Clark and Lemuel Murphy.