House: curfew amendment approved

  • David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Ben Smith, of the One Bermuda Alliance (Photograph from parliament website).

    Ben Smith, of the One Bermuda Alliance (Photograph from parliament website).

Members of Parliament passed legislation yesterday that will mean a curfew can be imposed for up to a week at a time.

David Burt, the Premier, explained that the Summary Offences Amendment Act 2020 was designed to “broaden the Governor’s power to order a temporary curfew” in the interests of public health.

The Governor would be able to set the hours of the restrictions lasting for no more than seven days, and make consecutive orders.

Mr Burt explained that provisions used to introduce a curfew to limit the spread of Covid-19 “did not lend themselves to the flexibility demanded of public health instances in which they may need to be utilised”.

He said: “In the earliest days of the response required to this global pandemic, the legislative tools available to the Government were not best-suited to the objectives.

“In the main, the provisions were aimed at managing times of civil unrest and not the protective measures required by these events.”

The Premier explained that the health minister will be able to ask the Governor to make a curfew order to prevent the spread of disease.

Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said that the One Bermuda Alliance supported the move.

He explained: “In this unprecedented time that we are dealing with now, there have had to be changes made in order to give flexibility to the Government so that it can move as quickly as possible while being mindful of the rights of the citizens.

“There’s no way that we’re going to take it lightly that we are restricting the movement of our citizens but with the situation that we are dealing with at the moment we have to take the safety of the country first.”

Mr Smith pointed out the need to maintain good communication with the public so that residents can be aware that restrictions are “in their best interests”.

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Published Jun 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm (Updated Jun 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm)

House: curfew amendment approved

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