Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020. 6:31 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, stood up for his officers who went to Blue Creek, Orange Walk District, on Sunday and arrested seven leaders of a church that was meeting with close to 300 congregants, a majority of whom were not wearing masks, or practicing social distancing.
Since churches were allowed to re-open a few weeks ago, the capacity has been limited to 10, not including the celebrant and his assistants.
Acknowledging our basis as a “God-fearing people,” Williams said his department would not stand in the way or worship, subject to obeying the law. He also condemned those who would vilify his officers for their actions: “We are not the authors of the law, but we are its enforcers…the law is what the law is.”
The church leaders were later released from custody and informed that they would be summoned to court for hearing.
To those accusing the Police of arresting people for “foolishness” while “bigger criminals are running around,” the Commissioner said he credited COVID-19 with, at the moment, killing more people, especially productive people, than gang violence, and the disease can no longer be taken as a joke.
He went so far as to ask Belizeans to think about the potential consequences of that gathering on the productive sector in the coming days and commended the tipster for showing civic pride.
Some erected an obstruction on the road after the arrests, presumably to try to keep Police from getting out, but they were spoken to and the obstruction removed. No charges will be filed with respect to this.
Objections to officers standing in and around the pulpit with guns (one was even heard cursing), were met with this question: “Does the image of 300 people congregating in one place, many of whom were not wearing masks, look good to you?” The guns were not trained on anyone and are the standard weapons assigned to the officers and police have authority to arrest anyone, anywhere, except in the House of Representatives (where they are under the authority of the Sergeant-At-Arms). The obscenity was not necessary, but neither was putting the congregation in potential of harm – which Williams pointed out is also against Biblical principles.
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