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Apr 13, 2016

Citywide Curfew Officially Green-lighted

Chester Williams

Since Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams effected a citywide curfew roughly one month ago, various sectors, including parents, government departments and non-government organizations have raised concerns about the housing of minors picked up off the streets of Belize City after nine p.m.  That disquiet prompted ACP Williams to return to the drawing board in an effort to iron out the kinks of the curfew.  Considerable progress has now been made and today, we were informed that the initiative was officially green lighted by the Ministry of Human Development, following the addition of a social worker as a critical factor in the intervention.  But there is an alarming fact; there have since been seventeen minors picked up by the police – the youngest is only two-years-old.

 

ACP Chester Williams, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South

“We had a meeting in Belmopan with the police and personnel from the human services ministry and we have agreed that instead of keeping the children at the police station overnight, there will now be a social worker on call.  So once we pick up the child, we will then call the social worker who will come in to the police station immediately.  We’ll also bring in the parent of the child and they will meet with the social worker for the social worker to do the necessary inquiry which will then determine whether or not they will allow the child to go home with the parent for the night or if they’ll find alternative accommodation for the child.  And that again will depend on the social worker’s assessment of the child’s situation, as well as the environment in which the child will be taken back to.  So that is one headway we have made and if you would recall that I had made two suggestions to the social personnel, that we could either have the social worker on call or we could have a drop off center so as not to have the children being taken to the police station as many, you would recall, were against it.  While they may be for the curfew, they were against the fact that the children were being kept at the police station overnight.  So we have now gone past that issue that we will not be holding the children at the station overnight but rather to have the social worker on call to come out and deal with the situation immediately and I believe that that is great inroads in terms of how we continue to enforce the curfew law.”

 

Reporter

“Sir you were mentioning that the age of the youngest child found on the street has drastically dropped.  Can you expand?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Yes.  The age range of the children that were removed off the streets are from seventeen to two-years-old.  We found a two-year-old on the street last week Saturday in the Saint Martin’s area and again that is very sad to see that a two-year-old child is walking the streets of Belize City at two a.m. in the morning.  That child was exposed to the possibility of varying degrees of harm and it goes to show the type of things that we are dealing with on a daily basis.  And what we did in that situation, we had referred the matter to the Domestic Violence Unit who then, with the help of the Human Services Department, have now dealt with the matter.”

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1 Response for “Citywide Curfew Officially Green-lighted”

  1. steven says:

    Congratulations Chester…someone had to have the BALLS to tackle this situation!!! When I was a child and teen, boy oh boy I had my mom and dad curfew and I never roamed the streets at nite like children do now a days. While we have some excellent parents, sadly we also have way too many who do not give a damn, parents that behave and go to clubs, socialize etc as if they were single. A generations of children growing up on their own has been created and that cannot be good for any society. If parents would keep their children home then there would be no need for this so…who can we blame for the curfew……yes…you…irresponsible parents….

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