Trinidad Express:-This is Anthony Gaskin, the man who drank his rum from a disposable cup while returning home from the grocery, dropped the cup on the roadway, and ended up in jail, charged with the seldom prosecuted offence of littering.
The law threw the book at Gaskin. He spent a night in custody, was berated by the magistrate and had to pay $250 to win his freedom.
Speaking at his Embacadere, San Fernando home on Tuesday, Gaskin said he never thought his actions would lead to arrest, but was now intent on staying out of trouble.
, Gaskin said he was returning from the grocery and was on his way home to cook his Sunday lunch of lentil peas and rice when he was held by the police.
“I never thought I would see someone get charged for this in this country … I does see people dumping,” he said.
Gaskin believed that there were “bigger issues” for the officers to deal with including murders and kidnapping.
He said he had unconsciously thrown the cup as he had finished a drink of Puncheon rum.
The court heard on Monday that it was at 9.20 a.m. the previous day that officers on patrol along Mucurapo Street, San Fernando saw Gaskin throw a white cup on the roadway. When they told him of the offence he apologized an asked for a “bligh”.
Gaskin was charge with depositing a Styrofoam cup on the street without reasonable excuse.
After his 24 hours experience in custody, Gaskin said he will advise others not to litter.
He said he “suffered like a dog” as he slept on the “cold concrete” while he was detained for what he said was a minor. He said although he was offered meals, he did not accept them. He said he asked about getting his own bail but was told that he had previous convictions and therefore would not be eligible.
He believed he was shown prejudice and racism but said he had no animosity toward the officers. He said he will leave them in the hands of God. “It is behind me now.”
The father of two children ages 18 years and 13 years said he had previous court matters but over the last five years he had been trying to remain a law abiding citizen. “I trying to behave myself now,” Gaskin who will celebrate his 54th birthday on Tuesday said.
He said he intends to pay the $180 balance of the $250 fine which was imposed on him. Gaskin was given seven days to pay the money.
Gaskin said he recovered his groceries after his court appearance.