By Lewis S. Teh
Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue says the Liberia National Police has closed down 28 businesses, including nightclubs and bars, among others for violating COVID-19 health protocols.
Addressing reporters Thursday, July 22, 2021, at a weekly press briefing held at the Ministry Information in Monrovia, Inspector Sudue said the role of the Police in the pandemic fight is to protect every citizen and ensure enforcement of all preventive measures being prescribed by health authorities.
“During the enforcement, we observed that people were in violation, 28 businesses were closed down, and 65 of our citizens were picked up for not wearing masks”, Col Sudue explains.
He also discloses that two funeral homes were shut down, including two churches and four mosques for breaching health protocols.
However, the Police IG neither name specific institutions affected nor their locations.
However, He adds that one vehicle was impounded for carrying more than three passengers in its backseat. He says among all of the violators, only the mosque is yet to pay the fine of US$1,500 into government revenue, saying the reason, why the mosque hasn’t paid yet, is that said violation occurred yesterday.
“The process of accountability is very simple, just pay into government revenue and bring back the official LRA receipt before we can reopen your business.”
According to him, the Police started the enforcement will awareness by moving into several communities in Montserrado County, including the distribution of T-shirts as a means of sensitizing and encouraging citizens to continue wearing nose masks in public.
He says under the health protocol, no vehicle should carry more than three persons in the back, while tricycles should carry two passengers only, and funeral homes are to host not more than 20 persons.
Meanwhile, Col. Patrick Sudue notes the fine is far from the thought that government wants to generate money from its citizens, but the exercise is meant to scare people, and to demonstrate seriousness in enforcing the health measures.
“We are not doing this to suppress our citizens or to extol money from them, but we’re carrying on this enforcement for our citizens to abide by every measure.”
The Police chief notes that people took for granted the initial US$200 fine and kept breaching the health measures, refusing to close down their businesses by 9pm, noting that some of them even made fun that they could double the fine to $500, which prompted the Police to act robustly.
“While it’s true that things are hard, such hardship will not make us compromise the safety of our people”, he concludes. Editing by Jonathan Browne