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Jan 24, 2005

Compol says he was in command on Friday

Story PictureThe video footage is now part of the nation’s folklore of rebellion, right up there with the Tower Hill Bridge and streets of Benque Viejo. But if you thought that the Star Wars like precision of the riot squad and ballet style choreography of Assistant Commissioner Crispin Jefferies were spur of the moment decisions, think again. In the middle of the action in Belmopan, News 5′s Stewart Krohn had a chat with Commissioner of Police Carmen Zetina…and guess what? Big brother was not only watching, but also giving orders.

Stewart Krohn
?How would you assess the work of your men and women today?

Carmen Zetina, Commissioner of Police
?Well, I must commend my officers. I think we exercised a lot of restrain. We came in as you see and you can see through the videos if you have a repeat of it that we came under heavy attack by people throwing missiles. People have been arrested because people might not know, we have gone so sophisticated that everybody out here were under video, under cameras.?

Stewart Krohn
?Do you plan to prosecute everyone for example that the video caught throwing stones??

Carmen Zetina
?I will review the tape and I will take action against those persons who committed themselves.?

Rene Mendez, Love Fm
?Sir can you comment on Mr. Jefferies? action that people are calling for him to be…they are saying that he is the one provoking the people and he is firing randomly.?

Carmen Zetina
?Mr. Jefferies did not do it on his own. I?ll be man enough to tell you that when I was watching it in the control centre, it was me who gave the instructions. Maybe you all don?t know about it, Mr. Jefferies does not act on his own. He was acting under instructions.?

Stewart Krohn
?Commissioner could you describe the kind of command and control system that was in place today.?

Carmen Zetina
Well as you saw it, and initially as you know, we brought in the recruits to be the passive sty to maintain the curtain that was erected for all the demonstrators and my position that we used the soft hand a the beginning and you see that our guys came under heavy attack and engage people who were well equipped to deal with any given situation that occurs.?

Rene Mendez
?Commissioner, the time for these demonstrators is up at three o?clock. They are saying that wouldn?t go. What would happen then??

Carmen Zetina
?Well, I will decide at three o?clock exactly where we are going with respect to that because at three o?clock every assembly out here becomes illegal.?

Stewart Krohn
?Commissioner could you describe the types of elements that your men were using today? For example we saw the use of shotgun but we are not totally sure what kinds of shells were used inside.?

Carmen Zetina
?Well it wasn?t shell as you know and it?s rubber. I think only one was shot. It was a rubber bullet. We had gas as you had seen. Those are the first initial actions the police in any given situation, especially bustling situation.?

Stewart Krohn
?Have you and your department learnt anything through today?s actions that you would do differently next time??

Carmen Zetina
?I don?t think so. I think we?ll maintain that position that is skilled through training and I don?t see anything that we have done different because I will continue to use certain restraint than using any force.?

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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