Residents in San Felipe Village, Orange Walk District are feeling the pinch under the current State of Emergency. No one can enter or exit the village as law enforcement has been guarding the entrances after a family of seven was diagnosed with Covid-19 and officials had cited the illegal crossings being a critical issue in the area. It has been eleven days now since the Statutory Instrument was signed into effect. Love News spoke with Leonor Dominguez who spoke with us on behalf of the village councilor, Jorge Magana.
Leonor Dominguez: “First of all he wants to point out that we have a lot of people here in San Felipe working like in Ship Yard, bus drivers, some of them do freight, some of them work in Belize and they crossed to work over this side and they cannot come out. The other point he wants to make clear is that lockdown was in a hurry so we got the message, the news on Friday that there was going to be the lockdown and everything was in a hurry with no time for us to prepare. So people collect from Saturday they didn’t have time to go out to even to get their pay, they had no time to prepare to get their groceries and some of them the little that they had they went hurry to the shops to buy. So it’s one week now and the little that they had they already spent it so what is the plan that they have for us being locked down here for one month ? Some of them have money at the bank, the little that they have, and they cannot access that money. Another point is that school are to reopen on August 10th parents cannot go out for registration, parents cannot go out for their materials, parents cannot go none at all. In the previous lockdown they at least allowed one parent per family to go out but now they just locked down here they treat us like nothing because we’re here without any assistance. What is the government’s plan for assisting these people? We have about eighty families that depend on going, especially the men that go out to work . If those persons don’t go out to work who will be sustaining their families? We need assistance and as far as we are aware they don’t have a plan they just locked us out here and that’s it.”
While the San Felipe villagers are experiencing a shortage in money and food, the Chairman Margarito Andrade is locked out of the village as he works in Hillbank. According to Dominguez they have no contacts with senior officials in Government to seek the assistance they need.
Leonor Dominguez:“They’re trying to do whatever possible they can but the chairman of the village council alone cannot do anything because if we are being truthful and if we’re real we don’t have any contact with the higher people out there. They are trying to get assistance and from now the village only.”
Reporter: How are you all in terms of food supplies and medical services?
Leonor Dominguez:“Well health services or medical if you go to the clinic the little that they have is like Tylenol so if there is an emergency if you don’t have a paper you cannot go out but then I am aware they made a list for example the pregnant ladies they can go out but an emergency emergency if you’re not dying you’re not coming out of San Felipe.”
When it comes to the reopening of schools in the village and the sitting of CSEC exams, the Chief Education Officer, Dr Carol Babb explained to Love News that the ministry is on top of things and that the date for their reopening like all other schools around the country, is fluid.
Dr.Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education: “I’ve spoken to the general manager of Catholic Schools Mrs.Thompson and she said that the school is physically ready meaning that they are ready with sanitization supplies, they can physically distance and they have hand wash basins in place and if they don’t that’s why we have the Ministry of Education and we are here to support. We have already dialogue with CXC in Barbados and they are aware that those students are in a state of emergency and they can’t leave their village so if that school is not ready we’re going to talk with them and work with them and ensure everybody is safe. So if they’re not ready for August 10th then we’ll delay the opening for them, nothing is carved in stone. I believe we don’t have to make problems where problems don’t exist.”