One person arrested for breaking curfew

Two others warned of prosecution

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Police arrested one man and warned two other people for prosecution for breaking the first night of Cayman’s island-wide curfew on Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne provided the update on Wednesday afternoon at the daily COVID-19 media briefing at the Government Administration Building.

He said arresting individuals during curfew will be a last resort, but in the case of Tuesday’s arrest the individual “turned violent when … confronted”.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service issued a press release later, stating that officers on patrol had encountered the man just after 8pm Tuesday – an hour into the curfew – as he was walking along Saturn Close in George Town.

One of the officers spoke to him and saw he was carrying a knife, and the man began behaving aggressively towards the officer.

The 26-year-old man from George Town was arrested for breaching the COVID-19 curfew.

Following the arrest, police searched him and found a pepper spray canister, a knife and two spent casings from live ammunition rounds.

He was further arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an offensive weapon, being in possession of a restricted weapon and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm.

“We dealt with that and that person will be going to court shortly,” Byrne said on Wednesday.

“The other two persons understood [and] accepted the lawful orders and they will be dealt with at a later stage. They will be summoned to court to answer for breach of curfew.”

The penalty for breaching the curfew is $3,000 and/or one-year imprisonment.

Byrne said he was pleased with the response by the public to the curfew, which, as of Wednesday night, was increased to 24 hours, running until 5am on Saturday, 28 March.

He said that over the first night of the curfew, 42 people were stopped by officers, but they were deemed “essential” workers and had letters from their employees stating as such.

He added that, on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, there had been no curfew infractions.

“We are very, very pleased with the enforcement efforts [Tuesday] night and I think it’s down to the cooperation and understanding by all members of the community of the place we are in at this particular time, and requirement for containment at this critical, critical time,” he said.

Byrne reminded the public that all movement on all three islands is strictly prohibited and that includes movement by sea.

“We have to get this total lock down and, then, on Saturday morning, review where we are and, hopefully, we are in a much better position then to allow business to be conducted outside of the curfew hours, which will continue until Friday morning, 3 April, at 5am,” Byrne said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin urged the public to adhere to the law and terms of the curfew for the good of the nation.

“I believe all of us will agree that going through this difficult restrictive period for the next 10 days or so is far to be preferred to many of our people getting sick [and] having to extend this period for I don’t know how long. Looking at other countries, we’re talking 12 weeks, 15 weeks, 16 weeks – burying many of our own people and having no sense of normalcy as to how we live for the foreseeable future,” he said.

McLaughlin said if the lockdown strategy succeeds and Cayman gets to 10-12 days from now with no significant increase in the numbers and no significant evidence of community transmission, “it would have been an incredible feat”.

He added, “It will mean we’ll be able to send our children back to school. We’ll be able to open back businesses. We will be able to have some degree of social interaction again without the fear of this evil still lurking in the community. That is the prize that I want the whole country to understand we are striving for and we can do this together,” the premier said.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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