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American Tourist Arrested for Not Properly Wearing Face Mask

Posted By: Marty

American Tourist Arrested for Not Properly Wearing Face Mask - 01/26/21 11:53 AM

La Isla Carinosa may not have been so loving to an American tourist over the weekend. A video went viral of a female American tourist arrested by two police officers in Caye Caulker Village.  The video shows police arresting the tourist for not wearing her face mask properly.  The woman refused to be arrested, telling the officers that she has read the mask rules for Belize and was eating her chicken wings while walking, and that was why she did not have her mask on. Online, the public threw their support behind the tourist and condemned the officers.  So did Police Commissioner Chester Williams, who quickly ordered the woman’s release, posting on Facebook, “The officers erred as if the lady was eating, which in fact, she had something in her hand that she was eating, then the officers overreacted. The lady should not have been arrested…” But today, Commissioner Williams had a new perspective as he told the media there was more to the story than what the video told.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“From my understanding is that the officers had passed moments before and they saw the tourist without a mask and they had warned the tourist about not wearing a mask. Subsequent to that the officers returned and the tourist was seen without wearing her mask and based on that again the officers went to warn her to wear her mask and she went off to the officers. Let me make you clear is that the quarantine regulations that are currently enforce does not make any provisions for persons who are eating or drinking in public not to be wearing a mask. However as a matter of our internal practice we have advice our officers that is a person is eating or drinking in public or any public space then we must exercise our discretion and so it was in that light that I had said the officers may have overreacted and could have used their discretion. Equally it must be understood that the tourist must abide by the law. Even in the video footage that you saw the officers did try to exercise some level of patience in how they dealt with her. But at the end of the day we don’t to promote an environment that would not be conducive to tourists, especially in a time like that.”

Hipolito Novelo

“Would you agree that she showed some sort of entitlement because she is an American tourist? She mentions it.”

Chester Williams

“Well, that can be deduced from what she said. But again as Department we thrive to be professional and I could understand the reason why the officers may have ran out of patient. You are trying to explain to a person the position of the law and they are adamant and she was very craft in what she did because she took the piece of meat and say, I am eating, I am eating. So that captured the attention of the Belizean people and so the Belize people reacted the way they did towards the officers.”

We reached out to the Belize Tourism Board on the tourism implications of the incident, but up to news time, there was no comment.

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: American Tourist Arrested for Not Properly Wearing Face Mask - 01/26/21 06:10 PM

In light of the arresting incident that occured between an American National and 2 police officers from the CCPD (Caye Caulker Police Department), she has spoken out on the issue and reassures Belize that despite being shocked by what transpired, she is still open to exploring investment opportunities and mentioned that this is most definitely not her last trip to Belize.

She expressed gratitude to those who intervened and tried to make the rest of her stay in Belize as pleasant as possible.



Hon. Perez, along with his wife, visit Ms. Cher and her family.

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FEMALE TOURIST ARRESTED FOR COVID-19 VIOLATION SPEAKS POSITIVE OF BELIZE AS HON. ANDRE PEREZ PAYS HER A VISIT

Over the weekend an American female tourist was detained оn thе іѕlаnd оf Сауе Саulkеr fоr аllеgеd vіоlаtіоnѕ оf СОVІD-19 rеgulаtіоnѕ. Her arrest was due to her lowering her mask in public to eat a snack while she walked through the streets of Caye Caulker. The incident was captured on video and it went viral within Belize, creating an outrage on social media wіth fеаrѕ thаt thе іnсіdеnt соuld further hurt Веlіzеаn tоurіѕm.

Hon. Andre Perez, Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and Area Representative of Belize Rural South (San Pedro and Caye Caulker) met with the female tourist (Ms. Cher) while she was in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and shares this video with us about her positive outlook in Belize and Belizeans:

Hon. Andre Perez: “This is the recording that Ms Cher did and sent to us. My wife and I visited her at the Bella Vista Resort at the Aji Restaurant yesterday. She was in the company of her husband and her brother. We listened to her and then spoke to her and expressed our sincere apologies on the unfortunate event.

I reached out to her and explained all the good things we are doing as a new administration as we bring about change and reform in the police department. She did acknowledge that despite the incident, she is still able to see all the good things our country has to offer and in particular the people.

She was very grateful and very gracious in receiving my wife and I on behalf of our government and people of Belize. She also acknowledged the good staff from Bella Vista Resort / Aji Restaurant and Reef Ruin Adventure Tours”

Ms. Cher was released shortly after her arrest. Роlісе Соmmіѕѕіоnеr Сhеѕtеr Wіllіаmѕ hаd tо іntеrvеnе, ѕtаtіng оn ѕосіаl mеdіа, “Yеѕ, thе оffісеrѕ еrrеd аѕ іf thе lаdу wаѕ еаtіng, whісh іn fасt ѕhе hаd ѕоmеthіng іn hеr hаnd thаt wаѕ ѕhе еаtіng, thеn thе оffісеrѕ оvеrrеасt[еd]. Соmmіѕѕіоnеr also аddеd that the Quаrаntіnе Rеgulаtіоnѕ, dо nоt mаkе рrоvіѕіоn fоr еаtіng аnd drіnkіng іn рublіс аѕ аn ехсuѕе nоt tо wеаr а mаѕk – thе рrоvіѕіоnѕ оnlу rеfеr tо dіnіng аt оutdооr rеѕtаurаntѕ аnd ѕіmіlаr fасіlіtіеѕ.

Роlісе Соmmіѕѕіоnеr Сhеѕtеr Wіllіаmѕ : “Іt wаѕ іn thаt lіght thаt І hаd ѕаіd thаt thе оffісеrѕ mау hаvе оvеrrеасtеd аnd соuld hаvе uѕеd thеіr dіѕсrеtіоn; but еquаllу, іt muѕt bе undеrѕtооd thаt tоurіѕt muѕt аbіdе bу thе lаw. Аnd thе оffісеrѕ, еvеn іn thе vіdео fооtаgе thаt уоu hаvе ѕееn, dіd trу tо ехеrсіѕе ѕоmе lеvеl оf раtіеnсе іn hоw thеу dеаlt wіth hеr. Вut, аt thе еnd оf thе dау, wе dоn’t wаnt tо рrоmоtе аn еnvіrоnmеnt thаt wіll nоt bе соnduсіvе tо оur tоurіѕtѕ, еѕресіаllу іn а tіmе lіkе thіѕ. Аnd ѕо, wе muѕt, tо ѕоmе ехtеnt, ехеrсіѕе ѕоmе dіѕсrеtіоn whеn wе еnсоuntеr реrѕоnѕ – whеthеr thеу аrе tоurіѕtѕ оr nоt – аnd thеу аrе ѕееn еаtіng оr drіnkіng іn рublіс,” thе Соmmіѕѕіоnеr ѕаіd іn rеfеrеnсе tо hіѕ ѕосіаl mеdіа ѕtаtеmеnt fоllоwіng thе іnсіdеnt.

Соmmіѕѕіоnеr Wіllіаmѕ furthеr сlаrіfіеd thаt thе dіѕсrеtіоn оvеr lоwеrіng mаѕkѕ tо еаt аnd drіnk dоеѕ nоt соvеr drіnkіng аlсоhоl, оnlу wаtеr оr nоurіѕhіng drіnk; аnd еаtіng іѕ оnlу lіmіtеd tо nоurіѕhіng fооd, uѕuаllу thаt оffеrеd bу tаkе-оut frоm rеѕtаurаntѕ аnd nоt ѕnасkѕ. Тhаt dіѕсrеtіоn аlѕо tаkеѕ іn lосаlѕ, ѕоmе оf whоm hаvе аvоіdеd аrrеѕt whеn ѕееn еаtіng оr drіnkіng іn рublіс wіthоut wеаrіng а mаѕk оr wіth іt lоwеrеd.

Сауе Саulkеr роlісе wіll bе rесеіvіng сuѕtоmеr саrе trаіnіng rеlаtеd tо thе tоurіѕt іnduѕtrу tо аvоіd furthеr іѕѕuеѕ, but thаt іѕ nоt аn аdmіѕѕіоn оf wrоng dоіng оn thе оffісеrѕ’ оr Dераrtmеnt’ѕ раrt."
Posted By: Marty

Re: American Tourist Arrested for Not Properly Wearing Face Mask - 01/27/21 11:53 AM

Arrested, Released and Relaxed, Cher Says She’ll Be Back

Last night we told you about the PR nightmare on Caye Caulker which was quickly quelled by Commissioner Williams. It involved American tourist Cher Urbina, whose family filmed her arrest for the crime of failing to wear a mask. The incident saw an immediate pushback from Belizeans, many of whom rely on tourism industry to put food on their table; they the officer's behavior unprofessional and costly.

And luckily for Urbina and her family, the COMPOL - moving at the speed of social media - would direct her release before any charges were laid.

Today Urbina is free and well, enjoying what are, for now, her last days in Belize. And she took some time to film a message saying, she's good and she'll be back:

Cher Urbina, Tourist Arrested, Failure to wear a mask
"Hello this is Cher, I wanted to take a moment and thank you all especially the people of Caye Caulker and San Pedro for the generous outpouring of support and kindness after the events that occurred on Saturday though my husband, brother, and I were very shocked by what transpired I wanted to reassure all that we are still committed to exploring investment opportunities here in the country and forming new and stronger bonds with the people of Belize. I want to extend a special thanks to the people of the Ahi resort for their tireless and ardent advocacy and to the ministerial cabinet for personally reaching out to listen to and assuage our concerns and to make sure we knew that the people of Belize are in our corner and have already begun making improvements to make sure that these events don't repeat, as I conclude my first trip to Belize, I'm sure it won't be the last and I pray for the speedy recovery of our economy as we strive to return to normal, thanks again."

And yesterday Urbina got a visit from Minister of the Blue Economy and area rep Andre Perez, who expressed his sincere apologies for what he called an unfortunate event.

Channel 7

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