Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2021. 7:14 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: As part of its COVID-fighting measures, the Dean Barrow administration implemented a night time curfew that has begun as early as six p.m. and as late as midnight on some weekends.
But also, as then-Minister of National Security and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte acknowledged today, “…the curfew was used so that the [police] officers could get some rest and recover, to fight crime again the next day.”
Nevertheless, many violations and arrests – and states of emergency – later, Peyrefitte said flat out that the curfew as implemented under the current administration has actually increased criminal activity and is no longer working.
“Now the criminals are adjusting to the curfew, so you have to adjust your mentality, you have to adjust your approach to how you are going to deal with criminal activity, and enforce the law,” he stated.
Later, he told us that the idea of the curfew was a means of “freezing” the situation to get an assessment of what we faced – in a time of no vaccines, few tests, and much uncertainty.
The curfew under the Barrow administration was allowed to expire several times but quickly reinstated with a rise in cases; meanwhile, in good times and bad, both for COVID and crime, the curfew has less rarely been relaxed under the Briceño administration.
That the current administration has continued with a now “short-sighted” approach to the curfew despite vaccination and other circumstances shifting shows they have no vision or plan to address both situations, Peyrefitte said. He also noted that the Government has failed at properly informing the people, noting that on a recent WAVE Radio show, a presentation by health professional Dr. Alain Gonzalez appears to have swayed numbers to go get vaccinated.
Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber agreed with us and with Peyrefitte that the curfew has become a tool of State control, both regarding crime and COVID-19, and added that it has been equally unsuccessful in both circumstances.
“In our discussions in the Shadow Cabinet, we thought that we would propose that the Government be called out on the curfew for what it is: it is no longer a fight against COVID, it is really something that they conceived is necessary to fight against crime. But then I hear Michael Peyrefitte say that it is completely ineffective in fighting against crime, and I would have to agree with him,” Faber said, adding that Government must be honest in its intentions.
Faber also pointed out that businesses have been hurt by the lengthy extended curfew and the benefits now are nil as it has left people struggling, so the Opposition would not be inclined to further support the curfew.
In its current form, the provision of the Public Health Regulations expires on December 4 at 4 a.m.; the Government has suggested continuing it with looser hours into Christmas time.
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