‘It’s no longer business as usual,’ police warn |14 April 2020
It is ‘not business as usual’ for the police force which has vowed to re-double its efforts to ensure that people respect the 21-day prohibition order in place since April 8 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The assistant Commissioner of Police, Romano Songor, made note of this following the most recent meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee chaired by President Danny Faure on Saturday.
It was attended by the Chief of Defence Forces Colonel Clifford Roseline, Commissioner of Police Kishnan Labonte and his assistant commissioners, Attorney General Frank Ally, principal secretary for risk and disaster management Paul Labaleine, Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon and other senior health officials as well as director general of the Seychelles Intelligence Service Benediste Hoareau.
The objective of the meeting was to evaluate the progress of the enforcement of the public health regulations and the 21-day restriction of movement order. Members present provided their assessment of the situation and the procedures and strategies currently in place to guarantee measures are being followed.
It was determined that the police force will henceforth be more firm against those who continue to flout the prohibition order issued by the public health commissioner.
Only designated essential workers and those who are seeking essential services such as clinics, pharmacies and shops are allowed to move about during this period.
“We have observed food outlets that continue to provide food for various other people when they were supposed to only provide meals through deliveries and order for essential workers. Because of this we have asked them to shut down,” assistant Commissioner Songor said while explaining some of the challenges the force has been encountering.
Customers and sellers at the markets located in Roche Caiman, Cascade, Glacis and Anse Aux Pins have also been seen not complying with the social distance preventive measure and assistant Commissioner Songor requested that they start doing so.
“We have also seen that some shops are maintaining social distancing while some others are not. The onus is on the shopkeeper or shop owner to make sure that the customers are behaving accordingly,” he stated.
“Many people have also taken the opportunity to go for rides during the afternoon in order to get out of the house and relax but this is not permissible. The instructions are clear: everyone should stay at home unless they are essential workers. We are not supposed to be visiting family members, going to the beach or any other place other than to shops and other essential services.”
He further stressed that one family member is sufficed to shop for groceries.
“During the last three weeks, the police force has taken a passive approach. We explained and educated the public on this matter but the time has now come for us to enforce these laws. Any person found disobeying the law will be arrested, charged and prosecuted with a fine of R20,000.”
“Members of the public have to understand that this is not business as usual. We are in a public health emergency which we must respect.”
Assistant Commissioner Songor noted that the force’s greatest challenge at the moment is in regards to the large bulk of application for passes that it has to process.
He noted that once these applications are cleared, the police force will be in a better position to enforce the restriction of movement order.