Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » People & Places, Social Issues » Order and Social Distancing; a Must During Pantry Distributions
Apr 17, 2020

Order and Social Distancing; a Must During Pantry Distributions

Long lines are forming at centres where the pantry programme is being distributed. This morning, it turned ugly when police disrupted the pantry disbursed by the Salvation Army. But at other centres in the city, the flow was better organized. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Thousands of Belizeans, disenfranchised by COVID-19, have applied for the Unemployment Relief Programme by the government. At last count, over twenty-three thousand applications had been approved, but that represents only about thirty-five percent of the number of applicants. An indication for what has been happening for about a week now is the large number of persons gathered at various locations across the city, trying to access pantry programmes. Most have not been practicing social distancing but this morning, one programme was shut down by police, even as the Minister of Human Development, Anthony Boots Martinez intervened. Today, National Security Minister and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte says that under the emergency powers regulation, the police had the authority to do so.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“The national security apparatus, especially the police and B.D.F. on the ground, in the streets and especially in Belize City, they have every right to make sure that even though we are providing the necessities for the people, they have every right to make sure that whilst we are providing that, law and order is being maintained, especially the social distancing protocols; those have to be in place. So if you have a number of people turning up at a place where food is being distributed, the police have every right to go there and say maintain the three feet distance, maintain a line, keep a safe distance from each other. They have every right to enforce that. And the past couple days, when people were being unruly, we even had to say listen put it on pause, shut it down for five and ten minutes, let people start to behave in an orderly fashion. And once they did that and understood that even though they are getting the food, they have to do so in an orderly fashion, then it was resumed. But remember, we are in a national emergency; we are trying to battle a pandemic. So while giving out food is basic and so essential to our very survival, we also have to do that whilst maintaining the different protocols for COVID-19.”


Elsewhere across the city, residents formed queues in front of supermarkets to collect pantry assistance. After applying online, they received calls and were given two codes as well as the name and addresses of designated stores where they should pick up the groceries. Wellworth on Albert Street and Twins Supermarket on Saint Thomas Street are among the list. Residents say that they are grateful, even for the basics, especially during a crisis.


Mr. Pitterson, Resident, Sittee Street

“They give me a call and we call them and so we work together and get the thing sort out. They called me, I call them and now I am here. They give me numbers and that dah di understanding I have here.”


Duane Moody

“Talk to us about how important it is this time to receive groceries; how it will help you and your family.”


Mr. Pitterson

Mr. Pitterson

“Yes because they got we locked up without food. If yo deh dah jail dehn feed yo. And if dehn lock wi up, dehn have to feed we. They say keep off the street, the germ is here; that is one part, but weh we wah eat.”


According to Pitterson, five persons are in his household and will benefit from the items provided by the pantry; the names and date of birth of those persons are also obtained during the initial call from the pantry programme. For Tricia Avilez and her family of eight, they have all been jobless due to COVID-19.


Tricia Avilez

Tricia Avilez, Resident, North Front Street

“Ina my household dah bout eight a wi. And so it wah really help a lot with the social relief thing weh dehn di do. I done get my text say dehn di help me already. That with the food come in really handy and ih help cause I noh di work and most ah everybody ina my house noh di work so ih really come in handy. I heard the government say when everybody start receiving their money from S.S.B., then the pantry thing wah get less since they could buy dehn own. I fully agree with that too cause we wah could support wiself.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed