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Government, Opposition spar on ending COVID-19 curfew

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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2021. 2:22 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Since before Christmas, Belizeans have wanted to know when the 8 p.m. curfew for adults (six p.m. for children) will be lifted or at least modified.

It was implemented shortly before Christmas on December 20 in an effort to limit travel, but the Opposition United Democratic Party have pointed out that a curfew can only be instituted under the powers of the Governor-General and National Assembly to institute a state of emergency.

At month’s end, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is expected to announce new COVID-19 measures via a statutory instrument. Minister Michel Chebat says that the new S.I. will be comprehensive, and it is likely that government will make changes to the curfew.  

Colleague Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries Kareem Musa explained on Wednesday that a curfew could be implemented via section eighty-three of the Public Health Act as amended.  But former Minister of National Security and Attorney General, now UDP Lead Opposition Senator Michael Peyrefitte says that Musa is mistaken. He added that implementing a curfew for an indefinite period is a show of complete disregard to business owners and employees.

Peyrefitte told reporters on Thursday during the press briefing, “The thing is that when you have a curfew without an end date it tells us or should tell us that there is no plan. Normally when you don’t have a plan or you don’t know what you are doing or you are stumbling everything out the blocks you just shut everything down for no reason and then you decide when you will come out with some SI at the end of this month to determine when curfew will end. To me, it is a sign that they don’t know what they are doing and they are feeling their way in the dark. We believe that the government needs to very quickly say to the Belizean people when the curfew will end.”

 

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