Belize: The duplicity in law enforcement

I want to state this clearly so no one misunderstands my point because what I want to illustrate is the double standard in law enforcement that caused the ever widening gap between the “big man” vs “small man” that still fuels crime and violence. I hope no one takes out of context what I seek to convey.

Firstly let me categorically state for the record that I abhor violence and would not advocate it against any person, group or entity even when they have opted to be violent. I further denounce gun violence and the failure of our country to stop the illegal proliferation of guns into our neighborhoods and onto our streets.

Secondly, let me also categorically state that discharging a firearm, be it licensed or unlicensed, in public is an offense under the Firearms Act that is punishable with imprisonment. The exception being in time of need like self defense and even then police must investigate and during said investigation take away the firearm from the accused.

Now having said that do take time out to read the news story I attached because I want to operate on facts and not fiction.

The so-call 21 gun salute fired in public, in broad daylight during the funeral procession of a so- call gang leader is totally wrong and basis for criminal charges and with the right police file preparation it should result in a conviction. How and when police should have reacted given the charged up atmosphere is another issue for debate. So I will not deal with that here, but suffice to say that the police department was and is still lawfully bound to pursue an investigation into this matter and seek to apprehend the shooter and if possible recover the weapon. That is the lawful thing to do and must still be done. To do otherwise would send the wrong message and would further galvanize this gun culture seemingly fully accepted in these marginalized communities.

This role of the police should have been equally stand true on 4th November, 2015 when no other than a UDP supporter of John Saldivar got trigger happy and proceeded to fired his licensed firearm in public in belmopan as the results showed that Saldivar won in honour of the victory of his “general”. When police tried to do their job then and apprehend the shooter, they were emasculated of their power, when no other than Saldivar told police to “back off”. PM Dean Barrow even defended Saldivar’s action at his victory press conference and proceeded to appoint Saldivar Minister of National Security and said that at the time of the incident Saldivar was just a civilian. Hmmmm imagine if he can exert such power over police as just a civilian, how much more power he can exert now over them as their boss and head honcho!

But do the right thinking minded readers see the duplicity? I opine that in both instances the law was broken but let’s analyze the response and the players and the context!

To date that UDP supporter whose name was not officially released and whose gun license was never taken away has yet to be detained for questioning and thus an arrest never took place.

Now juxtapose that incident to this one on Sunday 25th March, 2018, where likewise the supporter of a “leader” fired several shots in public and with a crowd gathered in honour of their leader.

In both instances the firing was used as a sign of “respect” or a sign of honour accorded to the “big man”. The only difference is one is a political leader and the other a gang leaders…. some will say no big difference! Now tell me if by examples our leadership, especially our minister of police, backed by our very own prime minister, by conduct has not only accepted and promoted this culture of gun violence, but had also used double standards in dealing with it. Action speaks louder than words!

Saldivar became minister responsible for police after that election victory and never bothered to ensure his friend and supporter was equally and rightly treated with the full force of the law.

The excuse: per the PM at the then press conference he said Saldivar explained he was concerned the crowd reaction and retaliation had the gunman been taken to police then so he intervened. Fine, that was then, but what about the days following when the police should have dealt with the gunman away from the potential emotional reaction of the crowd? Oops! But how could we forget by then Saldivar was the boss of the very police he told to back down.

Put that same logic to yesterday’s event and understand why I too say timing was everything. I know police must still find that gunman at the funeral procession and deal with him to the full extent of the law. But precedent and protocol having been established on the night of 4th November, 2015 police should have followed suit and waited until the crowd or mob-mentality would not be activated. After all they have the video and countless eyewitness.

Sadly, the Amandala did an interview with Howell Gillette who is now one of the same top cop for Saldivar and he explained away and justified the police’s lack of subsequent arrest of Saldivar’s supporter Now those same words will come back to bite him in this case.

I rest my case my lords! Keep justice blind!

Snorkeling and fishing near Hopkins, Belize

Visiting Hopkins, Belize any time soon? Do you love water activities – snorkeling, fishing, etc..? Well, why not experience the thrill of fishing on the reef near Hopkins, Belize, where you’ll watch your tour guide cast nets to catch your bait, which you’ll then use to pull in more fish than you know what to do with! At Coconut Row Guest House and Beachfront cabins in Hopkins, we know how valuable time is, so we make everything convenient for you as best as possible! After your fresh catch, we’d be happy to ask a local restaurant (or your guide’s wife) to cook up your fish for dinner (please note this is not included in the price.) Let us know whether you wish to snorkel near Hopkins the whole day or snorkel for half and fish for half. This trip leaves at 7:45 AM and is back by either 11:30 AM or 3 PM. (Fly-fishing for permit and tarpon with the famous Lloyd Nunez is also available; contact us for information.)

Book your Snorkeling and Fishing adventure?

(Bring sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, bug repellant, camera, towel, windbreaker. Snorkeling and fishing gear is provided, as is lunch and drinks for full day tours.)

There is a Marine Park Entrance Fee of USD $5/person. We will not charge you for this, because you are only required to pay if a ranger requests it. Please carry USD $5/person (or $BZD $10) in case you are required to pay. Preparations for guides and food are made the night before the trip, and reservations cancelled the same day as the trip – even to simply postpone – are subject to a mandatory USD $20/person cancellation fee. Thanks!

Belize Music Week 2016

Perform-at-Music-Week

The National Institute of Culture and History in collaboration with the Office of the Music Ambassador hereby invites representatives of the media to the opening of Music Week 2016 and launch of the International Jazz Festival & The National Song Competition 2016 at the Bliss Centre on Monday May 16th 2016 at 10:00am.

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event-schedule

Music Week 2016 will be held at Memorial Park and activities include:


  1. “Music in the Park” – Tuesday to Friday at 7:00 pm  By Belizean Musicians
  2. A presentation by the Vice President of Def Jam Records Steve B Carless hosted by Music Ambassador
  3. IP seminar by Marissa Longsworth
  4. Belizean Artwork – Kendoyll Simpson
  5. Panel Discussion with a Contingent from The New Orleans  Jazz Festival
  6. Seminar with Belize Association of Promoters and Producers (BAPP)
  7. Presentation of the NICH 5 year Music and Entertainment Plan

The purpose of “Music Week” is to create a space for Belizean musicians to share their music, and to highlight the important role music plays in the social and economic framework of the country’s development.  This year Music Week 2016 will include music industry development seminars, peer-to-peer sessions, media coverage and performances. A strong focus will be placed on international marketing, and exporting of the Belize Music Product.

For more information please call

Jackie Castillo
at (227- 2110)
or email:
jackie.castillo@nichbelize.org

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