May 03, 2020 News
– need for “heavy” penalties being touted
A number of Region 10 residents are yet to come to grips with the grim reality of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the observation of Regional Deputy Police Commander of Region 10, Deputy Superintendent Wayne Dehearte.
According to Dehearte, several residents in the region have not come to the realization that the disease is not a joke and is in fact a killer. Pointing to the fact that those failing to adhere to orders intended to help curb COVID-19, he noted that they are putting many lives at risk including members of the police force.
Dehearte expressed his views at a recent meeting of the Regional Health and Emergency Committee (RHEC) of the Region. At that meeting he made an appeal for more stringent measures to be implemented.
Dehearte said that, with already nine deaths and over 80 infected persons, police in the region will have to take a more aggressive approach to those not adhering to the set out guidelines, especially taking into account that the national curfew has been extended.
He told the meeting that the commander and ranks are feeling the pressure because of the lackadaisical attitude towards the orders. He noted too that many are continuing as if it is business as usual ignoring the need for social and physical distancing, wearing of masks and staying at home. “We continue to see members of the public continuing as if nothing is wrong and I firmly believe that many persons have not come to the reality that this is a deadly disease that respects no one. They are making our work much more difficult as they continue to do what they like. We are called out to stop partying, drinking, liming and other activities that they should not be engaged in, and this is highly irresponsible,” he said.
He continued, “It’s as if the public doesn’t understand that by being irresponsible, they are not only placing their lives and those of their family members at risk but also they are putting the lives of my ranks at risk. This isn’t fair as when they fail to adhere to clear cut guidelines we are forced to get involved as we are law and order and must implement the regulations.”
The Deputy Police Commander said too that he wants to see the implementation of “heavy” penalties since many persons when they are upbraided about flouting the regulations, “they act as if it is a joke”.
“People will only stop when we the police have the authority to lock up, charge and or fine heavily as the public seems unconcerned about their own welfare, thus showing scant disregard for the lives of many and the ranks who are forced to maintain law and order. They must understand that the police ranks are human beings too and when they act irresponsibly they are putting our ranks and their families at great risk. The commander and I are extremely displeased over this kind of behaviour,” the Deputy Commander added.
According to Dehearte, the police have been enforcing the curfew regulations more strongly now, noting that in the last few weeks they sought to use the soft approach but it has not worked. This, he said, will not force police ranks to now resort to being aggressive in their efforts. “Sadly, we live in a society whereby people like you to be firm before they can act and we are now ensuring that any defaulters will be dealt with. We choose to talk and urge persons to desist but unfortunately we found that it’s the same people over and over and this can’t continue. So what we have been doing is implementing regulations issued by the Regional Health and Emergency Committee (RHEC) and the Ministry of Public Health as the public must begin to understand that we are in very difficult times. It certainly can’t be life as usual,” he asserted.
The Deputy Commander said that his personal view is that those in the health care sector should relate the harsh reality of COVID-19 and its impact on lives. He also urged the RHEC committee to continue using its influence and relationships with various sectors of society to help curb the prevailing attitude of some residents. Failure to do this, he cautioned, could have deadly effects for the Region and Guyana as a whole.
Head of the RHEC Committee, Regional Executive Officer, Orrin Gordon, expressed the view that persons entering the region after the curfew period should be stopped and held at the check points until the following morning. This, he stressed, is a means to helping persons recognize that they must complete their activities and movements by the stipulated 6pm otherwise harsh actions will follow. “I would urge the police to stop and hold the vehicles and those in them until the following day as people must understand that 6pm is 6pm and we can’t continue. They can’t act as if there is no curfew when there is one, so if they can’t get back in the region by 6pm then they will have to wait at the check point until the following morning,” the REO asserted.
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