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Jun 20, 2019

Ministry of National Security Reverses Curfew on Vendors

Chester Williams

The Belize Police Department has lifted a vendors’ curfew that was introduced a couple days ago. As we’ve reported since the start of this week, street vendors who operate from midnight into the early hours of the morning were being placed on a curfew to operate. The reason it was being implemented was to curb criminal activities in Belize City. Since that decision was taken, vendors have complained that their livelihoods were at stake. Well, the decision to place the vendors on a curfew has been overturned.  Late this evening, the department issued a release to say that Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has discussed the matter with the Ministry of National Security. They concluded that cutting down the time vendors operate on the streets would deprive them of their right to work and have agreed that, “this practice must cease and desist forthwith…trying to minimize the amount of people on the streets during late night hours can be understood, this cannot override the right of the street vendors to an honest means of living.” Earlier today before that release was issued; Commissioner of Police Chester Williams spoke with the media.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The vendor issue is something being done by the Officer Commanding in Belize City. I try as much as I can not to interfere in whatever policing strategy that they might have. But I could understand the cries and concerns of the vendors. We know for a fact that this is how majority of them do make a livelihood not only for themselves, but also for their families. So there must be something that we can do to be able to mitigate the situation.  Yes I have spoken to Mister Dawson and he has given me his rationale behind it and I can understand where he is coming from as well. But at the end of the day, we must ensure that whatever we do, it is not done in such a way that it takes away from people what they have as their means of subsistence. So I have already said to him that it is something that we need to revisit. I would want us to meet with the vendors as well as the mayor of the city to see how we can regularize this issue. Whatever the outcome needs to be, it must be one that will be satisfactory to all the parties—meaning the police, the vendors as well as the City Council. And so we are hoping that we can have a meeting hopefully next week to sit down and discuss this issue. But in the interim, until we could have that meeting, my directive is that the vendors should be allowed to go on at least until two-thirty.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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