Making a “clarion call” for citizens to “work with us” and report protocol violations, Superintendent Vannie Curwen says the 1,100-strong Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) “cannot be everywhere, every time.”
The Officer in charge of Community Relations, speaking at Tuesday’s post Cabinet press briefing, said the RGPF is stepping up enforcement of regulations for wearing masks and other protocols required by individuals and businesses. However, he pointed out that given the widespread violations, public involvement is essential.
Noting that Grenada remains under a State of Emergency, he said the Force needs public support, as was the case when the pandemic began, to report instances of violations. Now, people get on crowded buses with no one wearing masks, stay in village shops beyond the curfew, ignore social distancing protocols and participate in other activities without questioning the bus drivers or business owners. Moreover, businesses are holding activities without the relevant permission and people are attending the activities. Permission is required for any event in excess of 20 persons, which applies to any location including businesses, private homes and beaches.
“We will, therefore, be stepping up enforcement of the current regulations. We have exhibited immense tolerance and patience because we understand the people’s need to be free, as they say. But, times again, are getting dangerous,” he warned.
Referencing “confusion” among members of the public and business owners about the curfew and the stipulated time businesses must close, he said Section Six 2 of the regulations mandated that businesses close at 10 pm. This has recently been amended to 11 pm “for those qualified.” Regrettably, several other businesses not qualified have stayed open. He pointed out that the Liquor Dealers Licensing Act provides for businesses closing at 9 pm.
“All and sundry business thinks they have the right to stay open to 10. That is not the case.”
Speaking directly to business owners, he said “it is our responsibility to enforce the law.”
Without providing details, he said there continues to be illegal entry by non-nationals from neighbouring countries with COVID-19 cases and several persons have been arrested and charged.
“It takes just one of these persons to enter undetected … if that one person gets a hold of us in Grenada with us not adhering to protocols then we can only ask God to have mercy on us.”