A vendor in the Bourda Market receives a face mask from Assistant Commissioner (Operations) Clifton Hicken
By virtue of a being a member of the COVID-19 Task Force, the Guyana Police Force on Saturday last embarked on a massive mask distribution exercise along Regent Street, Bourda Market and the Stabroek area in Georgetown, as well as Diamond on the East Bank Demerara.
The exercise was led by Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Region 4 A Police Commander Simon McBean.
With the support of a number of ranks from force headquarters Eve Leary and Division 4A, the officers distributed close to five thousand masks to commuters in the abovementioned locations.
Both senior officers were seen interacting with members of the public during the exercise, while the junior ranks encouraged persons to wear their masks to be protected from contracting the coronavirus.
What was alarming, however, was that some persons were blatantly refusing to accept the masks, and provided various reasons for their actions. Among them was that the masks were ‘contaminated with the virus’; cannot protect them from the virus because it came from China; ‘the government is trying to kill out the population’ with the mask distribution, while others just opted to continue wearing their own masks, which appeared both overused and dirty on their faces.
At the Diamond distribution exercise, the police from headquarters focused their attention on persons who are squatting on a government reserve, mostly Venezuelans, who are helping themselves to their own electricity and fending for themselves and children.
Assistant Commissioner Hicken, after the mask distribution, then instructed ranks within the station district to make a note of all the persons who were squatting on the reserve, and the number of persons in their households.
He made a commitment to put together some hampers and have those distributed within this week, as a means of cushioning the effect of the hardship that the dwellers are facing.