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Nov 30, 2020

Enforcing S.I. 170 of 2020

Chester Williams

Statutory Instrument 170 of 2020 came into effect over the weekend. You’ll recall that the Ministry of Health outlined a number of measures being taken to contain the spread of COVID-19.  These measures include a curfew from ten p.m. to five a.m.; the continuation of the mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing.  The latest S.I. doesn’t allow for a number of businesses to open such as bars, rum shops, discos, casinos and game shops and gyms; while others are allowed to open, but with drive-through, take-out, capacity limit and appointment conditions in place.  It is up to the police to ensure that the public and the businesses are adhering to the law.  But how will they do it? It’s a tough one, according to Commissioner Chester Williams, primarily because some three hundred or so officers are off duty as a result of COVID-19.  But he says that they must push through and get the job done with hopes that there will be some relief on the horizon.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The new quarantine regulation is nothing new to us. We have dealt with these measures before under previous SOE and so the police, we are ready. Over the weekend we had a number of persons arrested for breach of curfew. I would just want to appeal to the Belizean people that the reason for the regulation is for all of our protection and for us to adhere to it. We are still seeing people having parties here, there and everywhere. We are still seeing some places want to open despite they should be closed; we are still seeing people gathering in large numbers. We are seeing people without a mask or improperly worn. These are the things we need to stop if it is that we want to slow down this virus then we must ensure that we adhere to the health protocols that have been listed in the quarantine regulation.”


Andrea Polanco

“Sir, how are you dealing with the aspect of human resources? We know before you guys were stretch very thin policing all these measures?”


Chester Williams

“Well, I can tell you it’s extremely, extremely frustrating for us. We are significantly down. Last week we were down by over two hundred officers and this week we are down by over three hundred officers. So, our numbers continue to climb. Despite that, we understand and we have a mandate to the people and so we try out utmost best to fulfill that mandate despite the fact that our human resources is very short. I know that our Ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, is doing their utmost best to see how they can replenish our numbers. So, we are hopeful that within the next few months we will see an increase in our human resources.”

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