The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) reiterates its plan to leave no stone unturned in enforcing the COVID-19 regulations, boasting increased manpower with the recovery of over “84%” of some 160 officers, who were infected with the deadly coronavirus during the mid-August spike in cases on the island.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) John Mitchell expressed concern with what he described as “a very minute sector of society” that continue to disregard the regulations set out by the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) regime to combat the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of over 160 individuals since it was first discovered on the island in March 2020.
Addressing a press conference in St. George’s on Monday, the senior police officer said that “there are persons who continue to have some form of hesitancy with regards to following the regulations…some who just do not understand, do not know, (or) are just ignorant with regards to what the regulation says.”
“…There is also a sector of persons who, for whatever reason, continue to be belligerent and hostile to some of the regulations. This is not a joke…we are in a deadly war with COVID-19,” he added.
ACP Mitchell made a plea for the full cooperation of the general public in the island’s battle with the deadly virus.
He said: “We have many persons who would have lost their lives, so, the reality is out there for each and every one of us to see…”
“Sadly, we have lost two (2) of our officers, and May Their Souls Rest In Peace, and in this regard, we continue to extend our condolences to their families but we have over 84% of police officers that have recovered, and in that light, I think it sends a good message that we are in a good place as it relates to numbers for law enforcement,” the ACP told reporters.
The High Command member noted that although enforcing COVID-19 regulations is a priority for RGPF at this time, the “philosophy and concept” of law enforcement will continue “through the continuous engagement (and) talking to our people…”
He said that the Community Relations Department (CRD) of the Police Force continues to engage, and talk to individuals as it relates to all aspects of the law.
“We continue to provide the service, encourage prevention,” he said, adding that “if we have to, like we have been doing, we will continue to investigate, detain and prosecute.”
ACP Mitchell pointed out that because the RGPF is a creature of the law, enforcement would be in strict adherence to the guidelines set out in the COVID-19 regulations prepared by the Keith Mitchell Cabinet.
Against this backdrop, he warned that persons should not remain outside beyond the time of the curfew, and encouraged “time management,” on the part of all concerned parties.
“We will not encourage persons to engage out beyond the period as stipulated in the curfew, we really will not…begin to check your time…and I know persons can run into some problems from time to time,” said the ACP, who urged persons “to give yourself time and space to cover the distance” to their final destination.
“…We want to remind the public that you need to remain confined – if you need to move to do so under what is specified under the regulations, and if you have any concerns there is a Secretariat that is responsible for that. Feel free to call into the Secretariat or the nearest police station and we can provide answers for you,” he told reporters.
ACP Mitchell disclosed that 403 tickets” were issued by the police during the last three weeks, September 10 – October 3 to persons in violation of the Curfew regulations.
He said the majority of tickets were issued to persons for “not wearing masks, caught consuming alcohol in public places (and) gambling and failing to remain confined.”
“Ten tickets were issued by the Northern District of Carriacou and Petite Martinique…the Western Division issued over 66 tickets, the Eastern (division) 44, and the Central Division 23.”
The senior cop revealed that the Central, Western and Eastern Divisions are being augmented by the Special Services Unit (SSU), which issued “31 tickets,” while “the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), which has taken on the brunt of this work, have issued over 229 tickets.”
Additionally, he disclosed that “over 41 weapons including cutlasses, knives (and) scissors,” were retrieved by the RRU, over the 3-week period.
According to the COVID-19 regulations, “a person who contravenes or fails to comply shall be guilty of an offence and, on a summary, conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding EC$1, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.”
Persons have up to 31 days to pay the fine to the Magistrate’s Court in the district in which the offence was committed.