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Mar 1, 2021

Policing Municipal Elections in COVID Times

Chester Williams

The Elections and Boundaries Department is handling the logistics of the municipal elections on Wednesday, as well as the by-election in Corozal Bay.  Both mass parties are responsible for mobilizing their supporters and getting them to and from the polls as efficiently as possible.  But in these COVID times, the role of the Belize Police Department is equally important.  A new statutory instrument has come into effect and the ten o’clock curfew remains in place.  On March third, however, everyone, save for police officers and persons working the elections, is expected to be indoors by eight p.m.  It’s a restriction on movement that has been put in place once before, but was it successful in mitigating the spread of COVID-19?  According to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the department will do everything to discourage social gatherings across the country.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Under the new S.I., it clearly outlines that while the curfew is from ten p.m. to five a.m. on election day, the curfew is from eight p.m. to five a.m.  And so, again, the rationale behind that is to ensure that we will be able to contain those persons who may want to be in a celebratory mood after the results of the elections have been announced.  The police will be out in full force to ensure that there is no mass gathering.  We do not want people to be out in large numbers gathering all over the place and we do not want people to be out in large numbers celebrating.  And so we call upon the general public to please adhere to the rules.  The regulations remain in force in terms of social events, in terms of crowds and in terms of wearing of masks and in terms of social distancing.  Even as it relates to polling stations and inside the polling stations, the polling areas and inside the polling stations, you will see that there will be markers there where people will be allowed to stand, six feet from each other and, again, that is to ensure that we comply with the regulations.”

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