One hundred and fifty-six persons were arrested and charged over the weekend for going contrary to the State of Emergency regulations. The breakdown shows that 63 persons were charged for not wearing masks in public spaces; 51 for breaching the curfew; 30 for being unable to provide proof of sufficient reason for moving outside the curfew hours; 8 for not practicing social distancing; one for not adhering to the cross districting regulation; one for failing to comply with the directive of quarantine authority; one medical personnel for engaging in private practice when prohibited to do so and one for entering Belize illegally. During today’s press briefing Police Commissioner commented specifically on the illegal crossing at Corozal Freezone in the north.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We got that information or we intercepted the individual. He was taken into quarantine he was actually found within the Freezone and yes he came in from across the Mexican side illegally. You would know that our borders are still closed and based on that he was detained and taken into mandatory quarantine as the law stipulates. He subsequently escaped from quarantine but was quickly apprehended and my instruction to the officers in Corozal then was to clear a cell block at the police station and he is now in police custody at the cell block. He has been charged for entering the country illegally under the regulations. I believe that he has been swabbed by Ministry of Health and as soon as the test result comes back if it is negative then he will go to court and we expect that when he goes to court if he pleads not guilty then he’ll have to continue to undergo quarantine until the twenty one days is up before he is released or granted bail and so we’re on top of that and again we know that there are a number of vulnerable areas on our borders and we continue to police those areas as best as we can. It has yielded the arrest of a number of persons who came in illegally and it goes to show the efforts the security forces are doing with a view to ensure that our borders are not compromised at this time.”
A doctor was also arrested and charged for engaging in private practice whilst still performing at a public health facility. Police Commissioner Chester Williams noted that it is unfair for the Belize Medical and Dental Association to ask for leniency for the doctor when they know what the SI stipulated.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I have heard of the release issued by the Doctors and Dental Association I believe and it is my honest belief that the release is one that goes against the grain of equality before the law. Not because you’re a doctor it means that you must be allowed to break the law. The doctors are fully aware of the existence of the SI that prohibits them from working at their private clinic and the government hospital at the same time. They cannot come now to say that they want the law to be repealed and charges be withdrawn against the doctor that is not right at all. When we arrest the ordinary poor man on the streets you don’t hear the Doctors and Dental Association say withdraw charges against them and change the law to suit these poor people so why must we do it now ? The next issue with that is that the patients that were dealt with were not emergency patients so they could have gone to the hospital and received the treatment there that they needed. With that said the doctors are not above the law they must also act in conformity with the law like anybody else.”
The Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero spoke on the matter saying that a report on this issue is yet to reach his office.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “The only way I found out is because of what was posted on social media. I still have not seen a report from the doctor he has not called us at headquarters as far as I know. I did talk to his immediate supervisor earlier today and he also had not gotten a report from the doctor that’s mentioned. I don’t know why – I’m only guided by what’s in that social media note but we don’t know why he was actually arrested or we understand he was released the following day but we never got any official note. I can’t comment other than that. I have asked that he write a report as to what happened and what is expected from him in that regard.”