PM responds to concerns, criticism over enforcement in private spaces

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    Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has responded to concerns and criticism regarding his announcement this week of the enforcement of public health regulations on private properties by police.

    There has been criticism from citizens, while the Law Association has deemed such an act as illegal.

    Dr Rowley took note of the criticism saying they seek to “nit-pick” his “general statements of caution”.

    He insists that law enforcement must act within the confines of the law and points out that the Public Health Ordinance, the Public Health Regulations, the Police Service Act and other laws can, in certain specific circumstances, cover the enforcement and management of laws in private premises.

    He says Section 133 of the Public Health Ordinance states that the regulations can be enforced in private spaces via public health officers with or without aid of the Police Service.

    Also weighing in on the matter was the Attorney General, who joined the PM in quoting Section 133, as well as Section 110:

    The AG also went on to state:

    “The recent queries about enforcement of laws at private residences as against private properties unfortunately suggest that private residences are somehow immune from regulation under the Public Health Ordinance. This is inaccurate.

    Under the Public Health Ordinance, and the Regulations, more particularly section 131 of the Public Health Ordinance relating to wakes and Regulations 3 (b) and (c), 4 (a) and (d), respectively, various types of conduct are prohibited whether in public or private. These breaches are criminal offences and are subject to fine.

    It is clear as well that under the Part of the Public Health Ordinance dealing with infectious diseases that authorised persons, assisted by the Police, are expressly permitted to enter onto private property to inspect same.”