POLICE Commissioner Paul Rolle.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle has appealed to Bahamians to abide by health protocols during the Emancipation Day holiday weekend.
He said officers will be enforcing the law as usual and stressed that bars are prohibited from operating.
His words come days after new health measures were announced for New Providence and Grand Bahama along with North and Central Eleuthera, including Harbour Island.
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony for the handover of vehicles to the RBPF from the United States government, Mr Rolle revealed that he signed the operation order for Monday’s holiday yesterday morning.
“We’ll be continuing our efforts in stepping it up as usual on these holidays and I still ask persons to, you know, abide by these provisions,” the Commissioner told reporters. “Bars are prohibited and if we find them, we’ll be taking action.”
Asked whether officers intended to also ensure churches follow the measures, the police chief explained officers were not going to be focused on any one group.
“I encourage persons to abide by the provisions of the emergency powers order,” Mr Rolle said. “I’m not gonna go into that discussion with the church and the pastors. I said already, what we’re going to do. Let’s leave that at that.”
The church community has expressed criticism of the one-hour restrictions of religious services. Bahamas Christian Council president Bishop Delton Fernander has said the state “cannot dictate to the church”.
On the other hand, Senior Pastor of Mount Tabor Church Bishop Neil C Ellis told The Nassau Guardian: “We are not going to be hard-pressed to end our services abruptly after 59 minutes if we have not come to a place of a good conclusion for the worship experience.”
The Commissioner was also asked yesterday about a video circulating on social media that shows a man being handled by police with some people believing that the officers were too aggressive in taking him away from a vehicle and putting him in a police car.
According to the Commissioner the individual involved was supposed to be in quarantine but breached it.
He said: “I saw a video; I believe that was in Bimini and I don’t know what you mean by aggressive. The officers follow procedures. When we use force, we take action against the officers and what you saw on that video was the officers giving instructions and the young man refusing to comply, but yet sill the officer used, which I thought was reasonable force as provided in law.
“I would like to stress to persons when the police give you orders, just follow the orders. You know, if the police does something wrong there’s a way for that but not to challenge the police when they’re trying to enforce the laws. This man was supposed to have been in quarantine, as I understand it, and he had breached the quarantine and so we took the action necessary to put him back where he was supposed to be.”
“That was in Bimini during the lockdown and persons were I think taking advantage of the fact that we couldn’t get them to court in time”.