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Mar 31, 2016

Police Department Still Holds the Highest Number of Grievances

Lionel Arzu

Most of the 2015 complaints originated from the Belize District. The Cayo District accounted for the second largest percentage and the remainder was spread evenly among the other four districts. As it relates to the investigations: thirty-three point six percent of complaints are under investigation; only one point four percent have been investigated and as much as fifty-eight percent have not at all been investigated.  On the budget, the office of the Ombudsman was allocated only two hundred and sixty-nine thousand dollars which means that the office requires additional resources to effectively function.  The report makes a number of recommendations but the fact that previous recommendations have not been heeded to, is not lost.  Arzu explains the process ahead as well as his meeting with the Ombudsman Report Committee.

 

Lionel Arzu, Ombudsman

“The meeting yesterday with the ombudsman report committee is to look at the report in its entirety and if there is any question by the committee to ask the ombudsman and the legal officer who was along with myself; by the end of the meeting, the committee along with the chairman voted that the report be adopted and go back to the house with all the recommendations and then go back for a second and a third reading. From that point it goes to the senate as well for their part of the process and so that is the next steps going forward as it relates to the report. For our part here at the office my intention like I have explained to you a little earlier is to liaise with the chairman, Minster Mena; he is a new chairman to the committee and the member are new. I see a lot of hope from yesterday in the meeting from the both sides of the house. There are people from the opposition and people from government. And to see how they deliberated and collaborated yesterday in terms of the discussion, it’s a good start. Going on to the new year, an MOU has been signed with the ComPol of the police department and it’s a gentleman’s agreement. The hope is that the content include collaborative investigation and public awareness campaign as it relates to the office and PSB and other key components of the MOU. Now our hope is that the office of the ombudsman for sure will hold his end but it’s the police department, the Professional Standards Branch within the bureau that needs to do their part and hold on to their end of the bargain.”

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