Despite being the nation’s smallest parish, Hanover has recorded the largest number of arrests as it relates to breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) since the measure was introduced in March 2020 as part of the nation’s response to curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Conrod Cummings, the information came out of a recent top-level meeting where the impact of the DRMA came up for discussion.
“We continue to lead the way with 38 arrests (under the act) last month, and has carried out 587 arrests between March 2020 and April 28,” said Cummings. “In our latest operation a little over a week ago at a location in Hopewell, approximately 18 persons were arrested and prosecuted at an illegal party.”
With the COVID-19 positivity rate on the decline in Hanover, Cummings was quite emphatic in declaring that the police in the parish will continue to be on the forefront as it relates to adhering to the DRMA, which is key to ensuring that the positivity rate continues to decline.
“In terms of cooperation, the formal sectors have been cooperating, like the legitimate business people, the hotels, and all the law-abiding residents. But there remains a group, a cohort of individuals who choose not to cooperate,” said Cummings.
He said partygoers, bar operators, and bikers are the main offenders. He made it clear that those offenders will be tracked down and prosecuted if they continue their wayward ways.
Cummings said one of the challenges facing the police is that intelligence as to the whereabouts of illegal events is not always available to them. However, he praised law-abiding residents who understand the necessity of the restrictions and are acting responsibly in passing on vital information to the police.
“We have to carry out operations to disrupt these illegal events at least once per week, sometimes twice. We have been picking up intelligence in terms of locations where these events are being held, and we plan our operations, put the necessary transportation in place and conduct the raids,” explained Cummings. “Greater cooperation is needed in the area of mask wearing, as only about 40 to 45 per cent of persons across the parish are wearing masks in public spaces, as required under the health protocols.”
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Cummings further noted that while he fully understands the inconveniences brought on by the DRMA and the other measures that are in place, he still believes there is much room for improvement.
“While the cooperation with the police is good so far, there is still room for improvement … the end of COVID-19 is by no means near, so in order to preserve our lives and the lives of our loved ones, we have no choice but to cooperate with the health authorities with the measures that have been put in place. Following them will be to the benefit of all. Life is the greatest thing we have, and the aim of all should be to preserve it,” he said.