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By Orville Williams

Following the brazen daytime robbery in Parham last Friday, new ‘face-covering’ protocols could soon be implemented, to dissuade the unscrupulous actions of some individuals.

At approximately midday on Friday, an armed gunman, with his face entirely covered, robbed a supermarket of over $5000 cash, before escaping in a waiting vehicle. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident, but it has raised serious questions about the mandatory wearing of masks and persons who may seek to exploit the pandemic for criminal purposes.

Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin, confirmed that the robbery has forced the authorities to now look at adjusting the relevant protocols in preventing such incidents.

“I condemn seriously, the open and brazen daylight robbery which occurred recently in Parham. That incident has forced the government and law enforcement officials to look seriously at developing an appropriate protocol which will strike a balance between persons using a mask or some other suitable material to cover their noses and mouths in order to protect themselves and others from either contracting or spreading the Covid-19 disease, and criminals who seek to hide their identity before, during and after they commit crimes,” the AG said, adding that, “a satisfactory protocol will be arrived at and shortly, the public will be duly informed.”

Before those protocols are put in place, Benjamin is calling for increased vigilance from business operators and members of the public, to discourage any recurrences. 

“In the meantime, I’m asking business owners to be watchful and on the lookout for persons who enter their business places with a dishonest criminal intent. The police [and other] law enforcement agencies will do all in their power to give protection to all business persons in the state of Antigua and Barbuda.

“Customers, while you are in these places as well, please look out and notify the business owner or some security personnel of persons who you think, and who you see committing criminal acts in those establishments”, Benjamin said.

Police Commissioner, Atlee Rodney, shared the AG’s stance, assuring that the police would be increasing their vigilance and asking the public to do the same.

“The police have always been concerned about this possibility and we have been proactive and very vigilant with our patrols and our presence at some of the business places. Now, we will continue to be even more vigilant and we will call on the business persons to be alert, and also members of the public, that they should report any suspicious activity at any business place or any residential area,” Rodney said.

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