COP: Independence motorcades, rallies “will not happen”

COP: Independence motorcades, rallies “will not happen”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Police Commissioner Paul Rolle yesterday issued a strong warning to would-be participants of Independence rallies or motorcades that no events have been approved.

Addressing the media at police headquarters, the commissioner said there were several requests for these events, but in accordance with Article 15 of the emergency orders, they could not be permitted.

“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,” Rolle said.

“They were not approved. We will allow motorcades later, but unfortunately we are unable to do that now and I encourage people to abide by the rules and save themselves from unnecessary heartache.”

Rolle said officers will be out in full force to enforce the executive orders, including the closure of beaches on New Providence, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the closure of beaches and parks, noting the surge of new infection in certain US states, namely Florida, Texas and Arizona, and “what may have contributed to some of the surge”.

The beaches will be closed from 10pm Thursday to 5am next Monday.

“I’d ask persons to abide and hopefully we’ll get out of this pandemic…,” Rolle said.

“I’ll say to them do not go to the beach because we are not going to allow you to go on 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.

“We just simply to them, it is for three days and then I would imagine after that the beaches will be open again.”

He continued: “We are going to be out and we are going to be out in full force.”

Rolle said there was a recent unapproved demonstration in front of Government House.

He warned the group, Coalition to Save The Bahamas, and its member Paul Rolle, 62, who made the request that was denied, that any further attempt to demonstrate this weekend will be unsuccessful.

The group has called for the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue at Government House and the Queen Victoria statue on Bay Street.

“There [was] a young man in the front of Government House. I think his name is Paul Rolle, like me. And so, I want to say to Paul Rolle, I am the commissioner and I am going to invite you to come in to the Central Police Station to see me, otherwise we are going to come,” the commissioner said.

“But you are not going to go to Government House because I will be there waiting for you or you’re not going to go into Rawson Square unless you are Queen Victoria. I received a request and I denied it. And y’all still denied by orders and went in front of Government House. It was a demonstration. We have rules in this country and I will enforce them, regardless of who they are.”

Asked about other challenges enforcing the emergency orders, Rolle said the police force has managed well.

He said while there have been isolated incidents, breaches of the orders and curfew have slowed.

He said, however, there is a need to increase the number officers in the Family Islands.

“With Nassau, we are almost where we want to be, but we are not there yet,” the commissioner said.

“And we will probably never be there, but the thing is to make a step towards it as we have retirements, we have to keep on replacing them.”