Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday warned curfew violators that they are doing themselves a disservice and urged the public to take seriously the responsibility to engage in social distancing.
“If we’re going to succeed in this crisis [it’s] going to require each and every Bahamian to understand that we don’t want a face-off with the police,” said Dames while on “Morning Edition” on ZNS yesterday.
“That’s not the objective here. The objective is [that] we’re putting in place these measures, so that we can first and foremost protect ourselves, and by extension, if we’re taking care of ourselves, then we will take care of our families.
“But if you feel that, ‘Listen, I have to be on the streets, I have to be up and about, I want to challenge the police,’ that’s not the objective.
“You’re doing yourselves a disservice, you’re putting yourselves at risk and when you return home at the end of the day, you’re putting all of those in the confines of your home at risk.
“So, we want each and every Bahamian or resident to understand the importance of that.”
The country is under a 24-hour curfew, as authorities seek to contain COVID-19. The emergency period has been extended to April 8.
The government is also seeking to implement a grocery shopping schedule and deploy more police officers to the streets, the prime minister said.
Curfew violators face a maximum of 18 months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Over the past week, several individuals on New Providence and on Grand Bahama were charged with curfew violations.
But Dames said the police, alone, cannot enforce the curfew, as he called on residents to take responsibility.
“This is not solely a police function,” Dames said.
He added, “There are only so many police force officers and defense force officers and correctional officers and customs and immigration officers to go around, understanding, too, that these men and women still have their daily functions to attend to because they are an essential servic[e].
“I think it’s incumbent upon each and every citizen to understand the magnitude of their responsibility and to take these extra precautions to protect themselves and their families.”