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May 4, 2020

Four Persons, Including Two Minors, Busted for Illegal Entry Into Belize

A family of four, including two minors, was busted over the weekend for defying the most severe piece of law to come into effect during the state of emergency.  Despite the new measures going into the Labour Day weekend, both parents, along with their children, illegally crossed over into Mexico where the state of Quintana Roo is experiencing a rash of COVID-19 cases.  Upon their return across the Rio Hondo River, the family was met by law enforcement officers who took them into custody.  As of May first, the penalty for anyone found crossing into Belize illegally is a five thousand dollar fine, as well as a three-month stint at the Belize Central Prison.  While the kids have been placed in mandatory quarantine, their parents were scheduled to appear before the magistrate’s court in Corozal today where they face criminal charges.  If convicted, the couple will be quarantined for twenty-one days prior to being incarcerated.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“When it comes to persons who enter the country illegally there is absolutely no room for negotiation where they are concerned.  As far as I see it, when they do that they put our entire country at risk.  Now going back to the video you spoke about, I observed on social media people querying, “But we saw four, why only two get arrested?”  Yes, four persons came but two were minors and two were adults.  The two adults are the parents of the minors.  We can’t charge the minors if the parents are bringing them because they are following their parents, and so only the two parents were charged.  Now the law is clear, there is absolutely no room for discretion where Ministry of Health is concerned in ensuring that these people go into mandatory quarantine.  And so the parents are still in police custody, they will be going to court today.  By virtue of the law, if they were to plead guilty they will be sentenced to three months imprisonment.  But can they go directly to prison?  The answer is no.  So even before they go to prison, they would have to undergo the twenty-one day quarantine and if after the twenty-one days they do not develop symptoms or test positive then they can go to prison.  In terms of the two children now, they were placed in mandatory quarantine for the twenty-one days.  So if it is that the parents should plead not guilty and the court were to grant them bail, they will not go home.  They should go directly into mandatory quarantine at their expense and this is something that we must be extremely harsh with so that the message can be sent to people.  Do not enter this country illegally.”


One other person was charged with violating the state of emergency at the northern border. The woman will be facing similar penalties and fines.

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