According to the Police Commissioner, Chester Williams, his officers are on alert and are working with all hands on deck.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Yes the fact that the government has declared a state of emergency in San Pedro our concern is the announcement made by the Prime Minister with the first declared case in San Pedro from a security standpoint there are certain things that are required of us under the state of emergency that we must do. We are still awaiting the regulations that go along with the state of emergency that will dictate to us exactly the authority of law that we’ll have to be able to deal with certain situations. Notwithstanding that though movement has been restricted to the island in terms of persons leaving and going to the island and from a police standpoint I have also issued a directive to all police officers countrywide that no police officer is allowed to go on San Pedro and no police officer is allowed to leave San Pedro; so those officers who are out there currently they will remain in place until the state of emergency is over and I am also going further to extent that no police officer will go to San Pedro or leave the island until after fourteen days and they will be guided by the Ministry of Health in terms of how our officers move between San Pedro and mainland. We’re also looking at stepping up our presence on the island, we know that the fact that there is a state of emergency it might open other doors for other types of crimes to be committed and so we’re also looking at that to ensure that whatever measures we have in place will be sufficient to be able to maintain law and order on the island and if need be then we are also prepared to deploy additional officers to San Pedro. From a Ministry of National Security standpoint, I don’t want to preempt what the Minister may say later on but the minister met with us this morning the police the Coast Guard and the BDF and forces from the three security forces will be deployed to San Pedro with a view to ensure that whatever measures will come with the state of emergency that we’ll be in a position to ensure that we can execute as best as we can to avoid the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.”
Love News has since learned that all water taxis have been grounded and flights out of San Pedro have been suspended for today. Belize was the only country in this region that had no confirmed cases up until late last night when the results proved positive. According to Dr. Manzanero, the result came out at 10:45 last night. With the first confirmed case in Belize, Prime Minister Barrow stressed on the importance of adhering to the social distancing guidelines. The social distancing practice is still not being followed as was evident in Belize City over the weekend as several bars, casinos, and restaurants remained open and accepting large groups. It is in this vein that the Solicitor General has been tasked to draft regulations that will see persons fined for not adhering to social distancing.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “What this does it to make clear that those who have not taken very seriously the declarations we have already made in terms of the measures to try to in fact implement physical distancing and other things, those who have not taken us very seriously really need to start taking us seriously as from now and there are things that we’re going to be doing to ensure that in fact that is going to happen. The principal message apart from making the announcement I just did, the principal message I want to send out this morning is this; We, I repeat, must take this thing extremely seriously but we mustn’t overreact and we mustn’t panic.”
According to the Police Commissioner, they are working on the social distancing aspect on the ground and as it relates to public transportation.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “I had issued a press release over the weekend in respect to the issue of social distancing in compliance with what the national committee chaired by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition had issued in terms of persons maintaining that six feet distance away from each other. We’re concerned that when we look around we’re seeing that while some of the store are allowing 25 or less persons within that outside the lines are so long and the persons outside they are in very proximity to each other in some cases almost like sardines and another concern we have is that even inside some of the stores while they allow 25 persons inside the stores are so small so even with the 25 persons are inside they are congested within the store itself and so we have been busy over the weekend going to stores, going to the ATMs at the banks, speaking to people and see how we can explain to them the circumstances with a view to have them give that space between themselves. It has worked in some cases and in other cases we have seen where we have gotten resistance and so that’s an issue we had to discuss this morning in our meeting with our minister and so we’re looking to see what can be done with a view to ensure that when we say social distancing of six feet that anybody that violates that there will be some penalization for them and so we’re looking at that. The next issue is that of the overcrowding of the buses, our officers are busy on the highway with our teams enforcing the overcrowding of bus laws and I can tell you just this morning alone we issued a number of tickets for these buses and we removed a number of persons from off these buses who were passengers in excess. I want to ask the general public to please work with us, the measures implemented by the government is for all of our safety and if we don’t exercise these measures then we can have that this virus can spread even more widely within our country and will put majority of us at risk. Whenever we come we are not trying to disrupt what people want to do but at the end of the day we want to ensure that all these measures are fully complied with and we ask your cooperation; we don’t want no confrontation we want cooperation.”