There are currently 67 persons in self-quarantine on St. Eustatius. The Public Entity St. Eustatius will know if any of these persons are positive or negative for the coronavirus COVID-19 on Sunday, April 5, Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij said. Inspector Chief of Basic Police Care in St. Eustatius, Robelto Hodge said the crisis team has learned that a number of people have not been adhering to the self-quarantine guidelines.
Under the recently enacted Emergency Ordinance it is forbidden for more than 50 people to gather in one place; also persons in self-quarantine have to adhere to certain rules. The emergency ordinance was extended from April 1 to April 15, 2020.
The chief said the police would enforce these guidelines under the Emergency Ordinance. “We receive our orders from the Governor and we’re going to execute these orders. As Chief of Police I have instructed my officers to strictly enforce orders,” Hodge said.
He said he appreciates all those who abide by the law and asked them to continue to do so. “The police oftentimes depend on your cooperation … and together we are all responsible for our own safety. Our orders are clear: we will ensure public order and safety as … outlined [in the — Ed.] Emergency Ordinance.”
Chief Hodge specifically gave warning to individuals who were placed in self-quarantine. “This measure is not a request. You must adhere to the guidelines. If the police meet you themselves or if we have enough written statements that you are not complying with the guidelines where you are venturing out in public by foot or in a vehicle, you will be arrested,” Hodge said.
The police chief said everyone on the quarantine list had been informed of the quarantine guidelines. If persons have any question or in case they need clarification they should call the Health Department at tel. 318-2981 or contact the police at tel. 318-2333 or hotline 912. Those individuals also received the guidelines in writing. Persons in self-quarantine are also in daily contact with the Health Department. “It is important that you adhere to their guidance,” Hodge said.
The police have teamed up with members of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and sworn-in members of the BAVPOL auxiliary police to increase surveillance.
Persons in violation of the quarantine order will receive a second-category fine with a maximum of US $2,800. “This is a very hefty amount and we are hoping that we do not have to reach that far and that the people just comply and do the right thing and keep us all safe,” Hodge said.
If a person consistently continues to ignore the guidelines, the individual will be arrested. After a third fine, arrest will follow with all legal procedures being followed from that point.
“Because we are all responsible for our own safety,” the chief encouraged everyone who is concerned about their safety to call the police when they see someone who should have been in quarantine, in public. He urged people to stay on the line to give a witness statement, inform the police about the quarantine violator’s location and provide a description of the person, what they are wearing, who they are with and in what vehicle they were driving so that the police can meet that person.
If possible, Hodge asked for that person to stay on the scene until the police arrive or take a photograph of the violator in question. The Chief is also asking that persons who see violators out and about give a witness statement to the police.
“This is a serious situation and people … need to comply with the law. These measures are needed at this moment because of the seriousness of the situation. The safety of the entire island is in jeopardy if you are not adhering to the law concerning non-compliance with the quarantine order. I hope that we can pass this period as incident-free as possible,” Hodge said.
The Daily Herald.