Dozens of frontline workers have contracted Covid-19. These include those nurses, doctors, police officers, BDF soldiers and members of the Belize Coast Guard. It is an assault of sorts on the country’s national security. Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on this issue and also made reference to members of his political party who have been personally affected by the virus.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Is to commend the national security personnel. I think all around they have done a phenomenal job. Dr.Manza made the point that there is some degree to which members of the security forces that have become infected and then in turn are seen as index cases may have been infected I think he said as many as 80% are likely to have been infected not in the course of discharging their duty but in the course of going about their other business during their free time but however it has happened it serves to underline the monumental, the towering sacrifice that the members of the security forces are making to try to help to keep this country safe in the middle of the ravages of the pandemic. So I would start by absolutely saluting them. They are valuable in the same way that the medical professionals are and this entire large grouping of what we call front line personnel must absolutely be lauded, be praised to the skies.”
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has commended the valiancy of the Belize Police Department and the Belize Defence Force. The commendation comes almost four days after the mass breakout from the Belize Central Prison where twenty-eight prisoners escaped the compound. While both units have come under heavy criticism from the public Prime Minister asserted that Belizeans should be proud of the quick response and efficiency of the country’s national security forces.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Even the middle of our other troubles something like that prison break occurred well most unfortunate I’m not even going to point to the fact that the prison is privatized and so it’s not run by government. I think it’s one of the perils of office you’re in government anything happens the government gets blamed and that apart even though the prison is privatized when there is a break and clearly you heard Commissioner Williams say that he’s going to investigate thoroughly how this break happened because it is my sense that it is his feeling that lots of portions of that narrative as to how the escape occurred don’t quite add up. But again in trying to recapture these prisoners the fact that the security forces were shot at and two members were injured, shot at by one of the prisoners with this M4 Carbine which I understand to be a lethal weapon also underscores how very much these people are being asked to do and are doing without any real complaining. When I hear some politicians talk about “Oh the police and the GSU and the way they’re treating citizens” and all that sort of thing nobody can doubt that there are excesses from time to time but on the whole every single Belizean should be proud in a general way of the security forces; speaking for myself I certainly am. I commend the Commissioner of Police and all the members of the Belize Police Force. I commend the General of the BDF and all members of the BDF and I am absolutely proud of the fact that coming back again to the question of the prison break while there was nothing they could do to prevent that since they were not in charge the way they sprang into action, the success they’ve already had in terms of the numbers that have been recaptured all these things convince me that I ought to repeat the position that every Belizean can at this juncture feel exceedingly good about our security forces and the fantastic job of work they’re doing.”
To date authorities have been able to recapture fifty percent of the escapees and their manhunt continues. So far, those recaptured are Phillip Bowen, Deandre Guiffaro, Darren Vasquez, Victor Galeano, Joel Sierra, Deon White, Mark Pelayo, George Bradnrick, Kenroy Gamboa, Orlando Smith, Juan Ramirez, Christopher Bradley, Kevin Buller and Akeem Smith who was killed in the process.