Commissioner of Police Chester Williams was informed when the teachers had taken over the steps of the National Assembly building and refused to move. He told the media that issues related to the protests, which have been going on for five weeks, have been identified and officers have taken a hands-off approach to avoid any confrontation. But the Commissioners’ patience is running thin. Williams told the media that the time might come when protestors will be charged since they have no permit to protest and are breaking COVID-19 regulations. He sent a warning to the protestors that birds that fly too high, fall from the sky.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We’re trying as best as we can not to have any confrontation and so I always believe in diplomacy first and when diplomacy fails then we take up our level of force to whatever extent it may need to go to address any particular incident. And so I dispatched Mr.Dawson on the grounds and Mr.Vidal to have them speak to teachers and ask them to peacefully remove themselves from the steps of the assembly building and to come down more to where they would normally be and yes at first I was briefed by Mr.Dawson that there was some resistance and again I implored to him to try and speak to the leaders and hopefully they’ll be able to get their crowd to move- that was done and eventually they moved down the stairs. As a department we do have strength, we do have the resources but again I’m not the type who believes in flexing my muscles at first instance and so the fact that they were able to move without any further resistance that was okay with us. They have also been warned in terms of the breach of the COVID-19 regulations with the crowd that they’re hauling and the fact that there is little to no social distance being maintained among their ranks. They were also warned in terms of the use of the loud hailer because again by law you need a permit from the Commissioner of Police to use a loud hailer and they had loud hailers on the grounds and they have not applied for a permit to use it. So those are offences that we’re looking at and we’ll determine by the end of the day today if we’re going to prosecute for those offences and then we see how we go from there but again every Belizean including yourselves we must adhere to the regulations and I don’t think that there should be an exemption for the teachers to believe that they can do as they please in the name of good governance. So we’ll see how that goes from there. The public expects us to enforce the law and so we must and I had that discussion this morning with some of the leaders and I said to them that there must be an adherence to the COVID-19 regulation it is the law and it cannot be that we are enforcing the law against other persons out there and when the unions are doing it we’re not enforcing it, it looks bad it’s double standard and it cannot work.”
Reporter: Sir you said if you are to hold persons responsible are we talking about the individuals out there or are we talking about the leadership of the union ?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The individuals. We have taken video footage of them, we have taken photographs so we know all who are involved. You may be right that maybe they have gained that level of confidence that they can just do as they feel and believe that they’re going to get away but there’s saying that birds that fly too high fall from the sky.”