Police Commissioner Paul Rolle.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle expects “people to stay home” after the Prime Minister’s order to close three islands’ beaches for the Independence Day weekend.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Monday of the closure of beaches and parks on New Providence, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama from Thursday at 10pm to Monday 5am. While speaking to reporters yesterday, the commissioner made it clear police will be out in full force. He asked people to obey the rule as he has to enforce them and does not want “any unnecessary confrontation” with the public.
“I can’t (say) how we plan to enforce this,” he said. “I expect people to stay home. There’s an executive order that the beaches will be closed, the beaches will be closed and I’d ask persons to abide and hopefully we’ll soon get out of this pandemic and they’ll be able to go on the beaches and enjoy themselves on the beaches and I’d say to them do not go to the beach because we’re not going to allow you to go to the beach.
“I have to enforce it and I want members of the public to know that is now the law and we don’t want any unnecessary confrontation with members of the public.”
He also warned people not to participate in any motorcades to save themselves from “unnecessary heartache”. He said there have been a few requests for motorcades and demonstrations, the police chief has not approved them.
“I did not approve them and based on Article 15 of the emergency orders they cannot happen and they will not happen. So I say to members of the Bahamas do not go out, do not attempt to go out and participate in any motorcade. They were not approved. We’ll allow motorcades later but unfortunately we’re unable to do that now and I encourage people to abide by the rules and save us and save themselves a lot of unnecessary heartache.”
The country is still under a 10pm to 5am curfew, but it is expected Dr Minnis will announce changes to this soon. Some have complained about the curfew extending in July, despite no new COVID-19 cases being reported for some three weeks. Some people are speculating that the extension of the curfew is to help decrease crime.
However, Commissioner Rolle said he never signed any curfew orders and is rolling out a policing plan which he expects will help to keep the Bahamian people safe.
“The curfew is in response to COVID-19, and I would hope that the Bahamian people would understand that …..the intent is to keep persons safe. If a sidebar of that is to help crime then sure but I don’t know if that’s the purpose of it.”
The police chief warned a man also named Paul Rolle not to go ahead with any action in Rawson Square or in front of Government House in the coming days.
Speaking to reporters, he had a message for the person in question: “. . .I’m the Commissioner and I’m going to invite you to come in to Central Police Station and see me otherwise we going to come, but you’re not going to go to Government House because I’ll be there waiting for you or not going to go into Rawson Square to mess with Queen Victoria.
“I received a request and I denied it and y’all still defy my orders and went in front of Government House….. we have rules in this country and I will enforce them regardless of who they are.”
His comments came after a video circulated on Facebook showing two men, one who identified himself as Paul Rolle, in front of Christopher Columbus’ statue outside Government House. In the video Mr Rolle, who said he is with Coaliton to Save The Bahamas, said the group was fighting against “injustice against all people of colour around the world.” Holding a chain in his hands, Mr Rolle said on July 10 the group will remove the Columbus statue as well as the statue of Queen Victoria from Rawson Square which they view as symbols of oppression.