Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Disaster Risk Management Act not effective, says police

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2021 | 12:17 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester

With numerous infractions, including poor mask-wearing, party hosting and physical-distancing breaches in the parish, the Manchester police believe that the provision of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) to warn before prosecuting is thwarting efforts to clamp down on violators.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Lloyd Darby said the efforts of the police would be much more effective if the act did not prevent prosecution until after a violator is warned.

“If the DRMA is to be more effective, take out that warning aspect because people already know the protocols, based on the yearlong pandemic that we are in. I believe if we were able to prosecute them at the same time when they commit the infraction, then we would see more compliance and as a result, less infections.”

Darby said the police have been utilising the services of justices of the peace, but have made little headway in prosecuting persons on the spot.

COVID CASES SPIKE

Meanwhile, Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell is calling on the authorities to address the transportation centres, which he believes are contributing to the spike in COVID cases.

He said the number of individuals who may use any one vehicle, far exceeds the 10-individuals-per-gathering rule and are in closer contact with others for longer periods.

“I see mini-buses carrying 12 and 13 people; school buses still picking up children with 20 and 30; Coasters leaving here going into Kingston, coming from Westmoreland, still having more than 20 persons and these persons are in the same unit for at least two to three hours,” he said.

Speaking at the Manchester Municipal Corporation’s monthly meeting, Mitchell said it is very counterproductive to have a ban on crowding at various facilities when these vehicles, by the very nature of their use, accommodate large numbers of persons.

Darby agreed that public passenger vehicles should have reduced numbers as announced.

“The protocols are that no cross-seats are allowed in the vehicles. If they are licensed to carry 15, then 10 people should be in the vehicle. Smaller buses should carry two fewer passengers. Seven-seater cars should carry five, and five-seater cars must carry no more than three. The Coaster buses will need more attention to ensure that they comply with the gathering of 10 persons,” Darby insisted.

Mitchell warned that further action will be taken to ensure that all residents and entities, including vendors in the market, financial institutions and funeral homes, comply with the established COVID-19 protocols.

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