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May 5, 2020

Body 2000 Shut Down, Six Persons Charged for SOE-related Offenses

The full force of the law unexpectedly came down on Body 2000 this morning. The popular gym, located on Coney Drive, closed during the state of emergency and is not among the list of businesses that can yet reopen.  But this morning, shutters were down when police dropped by and found five persons inside the gym. Its owner, Mark Neal, says there was no training going on, but maintenance work was mostly taking place.  It did not stop the police from charging him and the others, though Neal was not at the gym when the police got there.  By this afternoon, there was a stunning after action report of the events of this morning. One of the four officers on duty confirmed that the gym was shuttered and padlocked when they got there under instructions.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano filed the following prior to the after action report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Gymnasiums, as well as other sports and fitness clubs, remain closed until further notice.  That directive falls within the regulations of Statutory Instrument Sixty-five, a point that was also reiterated by Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte during Monday’s episode of Ask The Experts.


Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“Gymnasiums, sporting complexes remain closed.”


This morning, a team of policemen visited Body 2000 here on Coney Drive.  Inside were five persons, including Delroy Herrera.  According to the tour guide, they were all going about their business individually and no one was using the facility for exercise.  Before they knew it, the officers were threatening to breach the shutters.


Delroy Herrera

Delroy Herrera, Charged Under SOE Regulations

“What happened this morning was that we were at Body 2000, five of us, and one of the managers who manages the gym and takes care of the equipment and so forth.  I was there helping him, flipping the [benches] and taking some old bolts out and stuff out.  The other guys were upstairs, a lady was upstairs and she was sitting on the thing, she rented some equipment and she had to pick them up from the gym.  And then we had a brother and sister who were there as well.  Mr. Pou and his sister were actually picking up equipment from a power washer that they have there and stuff like that as well.  And so we were, I was banging the Allen key and we were making noise and we started hearing that the police were saying that they were going to kick down the door and stuff like that.  What happened is that we ended up opening the door for them, the shutter was locked, front and back was locked and we actually opened the shutters for them and so forth and then they came in.”


When they entered the building a search of the premises was conducted and the officers found that only five persons were present.  A short while thereafter a call was placed to Mark Neal, proprietor of Body 2000.


Mark Neal

Mark Neal, Owner, Body 2000

“Approximately about 8:10 or 8:15 I had a phone call from Beres notifying me that they took them to Belama [Police] Station.  So I decided that I would get dressed and I got a next phone call.  The next phone call I asked to speak with the sergeant who was in charge or the inspector in charge.  The inspector told me, he said, “Mr. Neal, come down because we want to talk to you, we found your establishment open.”  I said, “No, you cannot because the establishment has been closed.  It hasn’t been opened, so how could you tell me that my establishment was opened?”  He said, “Well, come down, we want to talk to you.”  So as soon as I came down there, they asked me for my ID and they charged me.”


Just like that, Neal was charged along with five others.  Herrera, Pou and physical trainer Berisford Hauze were each charged for the offence of being unable to provide a reasonable explanation for proof of movement outside of curfew and fined a thousand dollars.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte

“These things in the law remain there, they still cannot happen.  Businesses are being opened up for people to go and purchase stuff that they need and for people to go to work.  But other than that, things that are not necessary are not yet allowed in general.”


According to Neal, the officers could have exercised better judgment and discretion based on the explanation, as well as the proof that was provided to them.


Mark Neal

“Body 2000 has over almost two hundred and odd customers, they find two people who work here and three other people, well who were assisting Beres with fixing up the equipment because we’re changing pads and different things.  I even have text [messages] that Mr. Carter text me and said Mr. Neal, your padding is basically ready so come pick it up, we’re ready from noon.  So I showed the officer all that and he said yes, when we go to court then that’s the thing, but I think they showed use their own discretion basically when they come to people’s establishment.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


According to the after action report, the incident occurred at seven a.m. when the police team was instructed by a senior officer to check on the gym.  In the report, one of the officers states that they made checks and noticed that the front shutter was down and locked with two padlocks on each end. Photographs were taken and sent to the police blog. Checks were also made to the back of the building where a wooden door was seen. But two officers shook the door, called out and there was no answer. The report concludes saying that the team stood there for ten minutes and still no one came out to answer.

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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