Police braced for challenging Cup Match holiday
The cancellation of Cup Match could make policing the holiday period “a bit challenging”, a senior officer admitted yesterday.
But Detective Superintendent Sean Field-Lament added that a combination of units at fixed points and roaming patrols will help residents to have a safe and fun long weekend.
He said: “Obviously, with what's happening with our country in her response to Covid-19, this is going to be a different Cup Match.
“There will not be the focal point of the annual Cup Match cricket game between Somerset and St George's and, as such, we will be anticipating that holiday activities will be more dispersed throughout the island.
“Our overall aim is that we want a safe, peaceful and enjoyable Cup Match period. We want people to have fun but we also are encouraging people to be sensible and to be considerate of other people out there.
“As I said, there's no cricket game, so we anticipate that beaches, parks, other venues and even the marine environment will see increased activity across the island.
“This makes things a bit challenging in regards to policing, but we have enough resources in place that we will be monitoring as best we can the various venues across the island”
Mr Field-Lament, who will be gold commander for operations over the holiday, explained that “a large contingent of police officers” will be based at Horseshoe Bay, where many residents are expected to gather on Thursday.
He added: “You will also see us deploying a drone down there to monitor the public order aspects and just make sure that everyone's safe.”
Police, Royal Bermuda Regiment troops and Park Rangers will work together and the beach will close at 8pm so that it can be cleaned for the next day.
Mr Field-Lament said that people can expect a similar presence at Clearwater Beach.
He added: “There's plenty of beaches and other parks — these will be monitored by roaming groups of rangers and police working side by side and they will be advising people in regards to keeping the noise down, being considerate, practising social-distancing and also try to limit yourselves to groups of 50 people.
“Camping is allowed and we are just saying be considerate, be mindful of other campers, think about the noise.”
Mr Field-Lament warned the public: “If we're going to go out and have a good time, and your good time involves drinking, do not drive, simple as that.”
He said that roadside breath test checkpoints will run from today until Monday morning and police will also carry out speed checks.
Mr Field-Lament added that officers will work with the regiment and Bermuda Coastguard to patrol the waters.
He said: “We have seen some alarming trends developing where large groups of boats are congregating, we're seeing groups of more than 50 people, we're not seeing social-distancing, a lack of masks and things like that.”
Mr Field-Lament added that people in charge of boats should also avoid alcohol because “the combination with alcohol is just as dangerous, if not more so, as when you're driving on the road”.
He said: “So have the same plan when you're out in the marine environment — have a designated pilot, have someone who is in charge of the boat who is sensible and considerate.”
Mr Field-Lament added that RBR troops and coastguard crews were prepared to give advice about Covid-19 regulations and take names if necessary.
Anthony Santucci, the chairman of anti-substance abuse charity Cada, told anyone who wanted to drink alcohol over the holiday to “put a plan in place before you leave home”.
He said: “We do not want you to drink and drive.
“The message is simple and it's consistent, it is A, B, C, D — always bus, cab or designated driver.
“These safety tips extend to those who are camping, picnicking, boating and partying at various establishments throughout the island.”
Mr Santucci added: “It might be well worth reminding everyone that it is illegal to serve someone that is visibly intoxicated.”
He said it was also illegal and “harmful to buy, serve or give alcohol to anyone who is under the age of 18”.
Dennis Lister III, the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, told the public: “We must remember that it's a privilege and not a right to use our roads.
“If we each take responsibility and be accountable for our actions on the roads, we can continue to improve our driving habits.”
He highlighted that cyclists and pedestrians should wear bright, reflective colours especially in the early mornings and late evenings.
Mr Lister said: “We encourage the public to be responsible and not drink and drive.”
Craig Burt, of the Department of Parks, added that park and beach gates will open today to allow people enough time to get equipment into camping grounds.
He warned that vehicles must be in car parks before gates were locked on Wednesday at 9.30pm.
Mr Burt said that the past five to seven years had seen up to 15 truckloads of trash removed from Horseshoe Bay on Emancipation Day, which was why it had be closed to allow the four to six-hour clean-up to be carried out.
He added: “Bag your trash up.”
Mr Burt said lifeguards will be on duty between 9am and 7pm at Horseshoe Bay, John Smith's Bay, Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay.