Police face challenge in detaining persons who break COVID-19 curfew

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The Guyana Police Force has arrested over 100 persons for breaking the COVID-19 curfew but the force is now facing the challenge in detaining these persons.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said they are afraid of keeping these persons for too long for fear they might be carriers of COVID-19.

“We have arrested over 100 and more but we have a problem. When we arrest them, where do you put them? Do you know if they got COVID-19? If you were a policeman you would be very skeptical of putting them very long hours in your police station, so we have a problem with that. So what we do we warn them very seriously,” Ramjattan told the News Room Friday.

The majority of the arrests were made in Regions Four, Five and Six.

Ramjattan said the Police have all the powers under the Police Act and under the 1934 Health Ordinance to detain, arrest, question, charge and prosecute persons in violation the emergency measures in place to guard against COVID-19.

He said a number of persons have been charged already. Along with a 6 am to 6 pm curfew, no large gathering is allowed, persons are to maintain physical distancing of six feet and only essential services are to remain open.

“They have been found clustering and so on and we have arrested quite a number of them,” Ramjattan said.

Ramjattan hopes that when these persons are arrested “they get a short sudden fright and behave themselves.”

On April 29, an East Bank Demerara resident, Romal Gardner was sentenced by the Diamond/Golden Grove Magistrate’s Court to stand for one hour in the sun displaying a ‘curfew notice’ after he breached the curfew. He was also charged for breach of restriction to home.

Meanwhile, Ramjattan said Commissioner of Police, Leslie James have informed him that there has been an overall decrease of crime for the period of January to April as compared to 2019.

“It is not a very significant decrease as compared to last year because people still doing burglaries and breaking into houses and so on,” Ramjattan said.

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