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Apr 2, 2020

Curfew Kicked in Tonight at Eight

With a countrywide state of emergency now in effect, it was anticipated that all major streets and thoroughfares would be deserted, leaving cities, towns and even villages virtually abandoned.  But that was not the case today in Belize City.  While there was considerably less vehicular and pedestrian traffic, a number of persons were seen conducting business, but police presence appeared to be noticeably minimal.  In explaining the law enforcement perspective, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams reiterated that greater emphasis will be placed on adherence to the nightly curfew which comes into effect at eight o’clock tonight.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“As of twelve midnight this morning, we went into a nationwide state of emergency.  The purpose of the nationwide state of emergency is for us as a nation, by way of the government, to be able to contain and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus which we all know we already have three confirmed cases in Belize.  And what does this mean for us as law enforcement?  The state of emergency regulations grant the security forces the powers, as well as the responsibility of ensuring that the spirit of the regulations is achieved, in that there are certain things that we must do as well as there are certain things that the Ministry of Health is supposed to be doing and with that the police, the B.D.F. and the coastguard are now tasked with ensuring that law and order is maintained as well as the other stipulations in the regulations.  I’m not going to go through the entire regulations but just touch those aspects of it that we need to be aware of and we have, for example, the curfew period which is from eight p.m. to five a.m.  We have the non-curfew period from five a.m. to eight p.m.  We have the movements of persons during the curfew period and the movement of persons during the non-curfew period and the issue pertinent to social distance which is also covered in the regulation.  So let me start off by the curfew period.  The curfew period, as I said, is from eight p.m. to five a.m. and the question then is, who are allowed to move around during the curfew period?  Most naturally law enforcement who are out and about doing their jobs in ensuring that the curfew law is adhered to.  So we have those persons who are stipulated in the regulation as essential workers and those essential workers are members of the security forces, ambulance or the health services which will also include ambulance drivers, nurses, doctors.  We have the fire [service], utility companies.”


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