As the first of the major events of the September Celebrations arrives tomorrow, Thursday, the Police Department in Belize City has issued as a notice warning letters to be given out to persons caught drinking in public or loitering. The latter is straightforward: if you stand about in a public place or road and do not leave when ordered or insult or threaten anyone, then that is an offence subject to a $200 fine. But the law on public drinking is a little less clear, as explained by Senior Superintendent Chester Williams.
Senior Supt. Chester Williams : So, when we read the legislation it is stating that when you drink in public, it must be in either one of three containers; either in a plastic cup, or a paper cup or a styrofoam. If you do that in public you will be within the confines of the law. The law then went on and state that if you consume alcohol in public on these occasions – times of celebration – and it is in any glass bottle, cans or…and there is another thing they put it in and I cannot recall at this time. Then you would be in breach of the law. So it must be bottle, glass or can. If it is in any of those containers – you will be in breach of the law. So we are aware that on these days of parade people would normally gather on the street corner with their ice-box containing liquor and they drink. So we are simply telling people, you know what, if you do that you could not be wrong but if you do it in a certain way you are wrong and you could be persecuted for public drinking.
Williams notes that drink containers can easily become weapons of choice and police are trying to prevent that as much as possible. As for Police preparations and safety warnings the Department is ready to police parade routes, public events and indeed all of the City and country to prevent and arrest crime. Officers will be out during the parades and major events and swarming the municipalities to arrest evildoers.