Three villages, Santa Martha, Guinea Grass, Shipyard, in the Orange Walk District along with Ambergris Caye have been placed on lockdown for the next two weeks. Late last week the announcement was made by the Prime Minister which brought significant changes in those areas as no one is allowed to enter or exit the villages. Love News reached out to the Chairman of Guinea Grass, Benito Uck who spoke on how the villagers are coping.
Benito Uck, Chairman, Guinea Grass Village: “At the beginning of the press conference on Thursday evening they announced our community would be on lock down. Like I said it was a surprise to the community and the concern that I had received since that Friday that our villagers couldn’t receive any payments through the bank that was on Friday and yesterday and due to the lock down they usually got paid on Fridays and Saturdays; you know that our villagers usually get weekly payment and that was the issue that they are getting because they need money to buy the basic foods but since that lock down they can’t go in nor they can’t go out that is the rule and that is why they are concerned because they have children that they need to feed especially milk and so on. Even though we have Chinese shops in our community but what they don’t have is the finance and that is the issue they don’t have the finance even though we have the services here but they cannot purchase anything and that is the issue that they are facing at this moment. They don’t have the finance the purchase, they are asking the council to see which way they could assist we’re waiting for the government assistance but up to now nobody had called me informing that anything will be given to our community as food assistance and that is the issue we are confronting in our community. Within the community they are abiding by the rules you don’t see much people around the community the only concern they had was where the neighboring village from Shipyard were coming here and then that was the issue because they know that Shipyard had an increase of the virus and that is where they are concerned and that is where we addressed that to the authorities if they could do a checkpoint there so the community from Shipyard and the people from there cannot come in here because I spoke to the authorities and they told me that we could go there – Guinea Grass people could go to Shipyard and Shipyard people could come to our community since that area is the lock down area they could do a transition between those two villages but about the villagers they are very concerned about this.”
Our newsroom also reached out to the Chairperson for Santa Martha Village, Maria Soza. Soza explained that one of their challenges is the absence of a drug store or medical practitioner.
Maria Soza, Chairlady, Santa Martha Village: “We are in a situation very difficult. We’re in a total lock down for fourteen days possibly. My concern is that we don’t have a clinic, medicine or a pharmacy to assist us with this virus. If there are persons that will need these things then we are to receive assistance for the village. There are already persons who will need water because they don’t have drinking water. Food as well is an issue because prior to the lock down some persons didn’t get a chance to go out and buy their groceries because they didn’t have money. What I ask is that they please help us. This morning the president of NAVCO called me and told me that he will see if he could assist our people and the village. Mr.Kevin Bernard also told me that they will be making a donation. We will be waiting for that assistance from them. For now we can’t go to Orange Walk to buy our stuff. As for the quarantine for fourteen days I think it is good because it allows us to monitor and decontaminate ourselves, I ask my people that during those fourteen days to please don’t come out of their houses especially those who have the virus.”
The lockdown for these four areas expires on August 21, 2020. Government officials do reserve the right to extend the lockdown if deemed necessary.