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Jul 7, 2020

Are There Any Signs of S.O.E. Fatigue on Belizeans?

Chester Williams

The anti-gang state of emergency bookends the national state of emergency that expired on June thirtieth to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Effectively, the south side of Belize City has been under lockdown since March and will remain so for another thirty days, as the Belize Police Department seeks to return a sense of normalcy amid a spike in gang violence.  But are the consecutive S.O.E.s cause for some fatigue?  Here’s how the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General explained it.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“This is a different one than the previous one.  As I said before, the elements we are dealing with now were not a part of the previous state of emergency and so I cannot see an issue of a fatigue and remember that the previous one was supposed to be extended but because of the fact that they had gone to CYDP and had gone to Brother Nuri and had asked for sympathy, the minister and the government decided, you know what, mek wi give them a break and see what they are going to do if they‘re going to change and it was in that spirit that the previous one was not extended.  So at the end of the day, it is incumbent on them to show that they are serious about making the change, they are serious about displaying behavior that is compatible with ordinary people‘s behavior so that they can live among us.  If they cannot do that then will have no other choice but to put them away.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“If I could just add to that as well, in terms of you talk about state of emergency fatigue.  I don‘t know one single law-abiding citizen who hates a state of emergency.  Law-abiding citizens love states of emergency because they have nothing to hide and they know they won‘t be gone after by the police.  If you look at the whole COVID-19 situation, for example, my sentiment that I am hearing off the street is that people are asking back for the curfew so I believe that the Belizean public wants to be safe and if it takes ten SOEs for them to feel safe then that’s what we’ll do.”


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