Curfew passes! Is it really a thing? And who are the persons that will get them? According to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte there will be none; at least for the next week or so. In speaking on the issue, Peyrefitte made mention of a case just this morning where a person was complaining on social media of being approached by police as she went for her morning run at a quarter pass four. We surmise that the reference was a UDP Standard Bearer who was bold enough to complain of the situation even though it was within the curfew hours.
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “There will be no passes issued for at the very least the first week of this curfew. No passes so anybody who is out there between 8:00 p.m and 5:00 a.m will be arrested and charged. We already had a situation this morning and I won’t question what the policeman considered before he decided not to charge this person that put out there that she was out there at 4:14 a.m or whatever but had the policeman arrested and charged that person this morning the policeman would have been well within order because nobody will be allowed to violate the curfew and I wish that the policeman had charged that person because that would have sent the proper message that nobody is above the law. We have to respect the rules and regulations that we have and we intend to enforce them viciously if we have to to the fullest extent of the law. Now, I see a number of people walking around with things that they think are passes I even see one from a radio station where the manager of the radio station is telling the world “Please give courtesies to this reporter.” , it’s not allowed there’s only one type of pass and I’m not trying to derive any extreme pleasure from having the ability to give out passes- I have many other ways I derive pleasure giving out passes is not one of them but the law is very clear in terms of giving out passes. There’s the section here that I want to draw people’s attention to- section 17 “The Minister with responsibility for National Security may make orders and rules for the preventing, controlling, containing, and suppressing the spread of infectious disease. Such orders and rules shall be gazetted. Now in that spirit only the Minister of National Security is allowed to grant you a pass. That pass will be signed only by the Minister of National Security, if you have something in your hand and it’s not signed by the Minister of National Security you are not safe and you’ll be arrested and charged. That’s the rule that’s specifically put out here so don’t tell me “Oh this CEO gave me permission or this Policeman gave me permission or I have a signed document here from somebody giving me permission.” No, the only person who can sign a pass is the Minister of National Security so if you have something without that signature there then you are not in the clear, you will be arrested and charged. So don’t let anybody give you the impression that they can give you any permission to be out there doing something other than what the regulations provide for and being out there during the curfew period.”
Peyrefitte used the Government’s Press Office Ask the Expert segment today to explain to residents that there will be no mercy or understanding for those going against the regulations.
Peyrefitte reiterates in this next excerpt that going to the store for a beer or soda is not an acceptable purpose if you are encountered on the streets by police.
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “Medical emergency. People were clamoring “Why don’t you have plumbers and electricians on the essentials list?” Well because then now is not the time to decide “You know what I would want to rewire my house.” No, that can wait thirty days but a plumber and electrician surely could be activated if your bathroom is over flooding or your pipes are leaking or you have a wiring problem in your house that is an emergency. In a case like that then an electrician or plumber could come and fix your pipes or electricity but it has to be an emergency situation. “An essential worker or employee of an approved business going to or from work.” So if you’re one of the businesses that are on the approved list you, you are an essential worker if you work for that business and you’re allowed to go to and from that business during the time of 5:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. So if you work for a pharmacy, pharmacies have been deemed to be essentials. If you work for a bakery those are essential so if you are a worker who works for a bakery or a pharmacy you are allowed to be out and about 5:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m.. If you’re going to work or if you’re coming back from work don’t stop and hail your breathing for a two hours before you go to work, no straight to work back home from work that’s the intention.”
As Belize charts its way in the new territory of a State of Emergency it is expected that tweaks will be made to the regulations in the coming days. Between yesterday and today, there were multiple changes made as outlined by Peyrefitte.
As a reminder, curfew starts at 8pm every night and ends at 5am. Love News understands that in Corozal Town, the fire engine siren will sound some minutes prior to eight o’clock as a warning for residents to get home.