Western News


Lucea mayor calls for more arrests of people breaching curfew

Observer West writer

Thursday, September 17, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover - Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels has called for more arrests of people breaching the nightly curfew hours— imposed by the Government in response to the outbreak of COVID-19— in the parish of Hanover.

Addressing a recent Hanover Municipal Corporation regular monthly general meeting, Mayor Samuels argued that he is currently not seeing people found in breach being arrested in numbers compared to when the islandwide curfew was first put in place earlier this year.

“We need to lock up these people who stay on the roads outside of eight o'clock [8:00 pm]. Lock them up because most of them only out there because they want to go do something,” Mayor Samuels argued.

Several people in the gallery, however, muttered that the mayor himself can be seen on the roads in the town at nights.

The mayor, in his response, quipped that “they say that I can stay out, so, I stay out. But, there are some persons who are not supposed to be out there… I am out there watching out for them, you know.”

Last week Monday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced changes to the containment measures as the country deals with the community spread of the COVID-19.

The new measures, which began on September 8, include an 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew to end on September 23.

Commanding Officer in charge of the Hanover Police Division Superintendent Sharon Beeput told the meeting that over one million dollars in fines have been paid in the courts by a number of people found in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act, in Hanover.

In March, the Government declared the entire island a disaster area in accordance with Section 26 of the Act in response to the concerns surrounding the growing threat of the COVID-19. Upon the declaration of a disaster area, the prime minister may, by order, identify and direct the enforcement of a number of measures which he believes are desirable for the removing, mitigating or safeguarding against such a condition or hazard and the likely consequences regarding non-compliance of the order.

Superintendent Beeput told the meeting that the police is taking action.

“Just to say that, Hanover police… we have done so much, we have, probably, by the courts, have made over a million dollars in terms of persons who have been fined,” she stated.

Mayor Samuels, who is also the People's National Party (PNP's) councillor for the Cauldwell Division, argued that the curfew which was put in place earlier this year has assisted the police in their crime-fighting efforts in Hanover,” adding that “I think that they should consider using the curfew as one of the crime-fighting methods in going forward.”

During the meeting the mayor also raised concerns surrounding the number of unlicensed motorcycles on the roads, most of which, he said, are used in wrongdoings.

“A them a do the wrongs, you know. The bike guys you know. So, anytime you hear a bike anywhere, find them and take it away,” the mayor urged.

Superintendent Beeput, however, pointed out that the police are currently undertaking an enforcement action against these motorcyclists.

“Most of these persons who have these unlicensed motorcycles are using them for taxi operations. Most of them, that is what they use it for, as also, to involve in other criminal activities, but we are enforcing that,” stated Superintendent Beeput.

She further substantiated her argument by adding that, “we have a number of motorcycles at the headquarters now that are there. Some should be auctioned soon; lots of them. And, that is a part of our 90-day crime reduction plan.”

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