Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Crime, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Human Rights Report Indicates that Police Abuse is Rampant
Apr 14, 2016

Human Rights Report Indicates that Police Abuse is Rampant

The United States Embassy in Belize has released its 2015 Human Rights Report.  The comprehensive study which looks at human rights violations highlights excessive use of force by the police, lengthy pretrial detention, as well as harassment and threats based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  On the issue of police brutality, the case of Hilberto Sotz, who died while in police custody on Caye Caulker in July of last year, speaks to arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life.  Another incident involving law enforcement has to do with an allegation made against the Belize National Coast Guard, following the disappearance of three Belize City fishermen.  While the brass of the coastguard has since gone on record to state that an investigation had been launched, there has been no conclusion to the matter.  These and other similar complaints against law enforcement are also documented in the Ombudsman’s Report.  News Five spoke to C.E.O. George Lovell, who outlined measures taken by the Ministry of National Security to deal with rogue officers.

 

On the Phone: Ret. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“I can tell you what we have been doing, if you want just a straight answer on what we’re doing in respect to numerous cases of incidents where they have been accused of police brutality.  And I have to say accused because a number of these cases are still ongoing.  In every instance, in terms of incidents that have been brought to our attention, in every case where there is a complaint against the police or even the coastguard of any form of brutality, immediately we launch an investigation and in cases where there are reasons to believe that the complaints have some sort of merit we immediately place these officers on suspension.  So there are a number of officers who are currently on suspension while we are continuing our investigation into these matters.  In cases where clearly there was loss of lives and we see where there were reasons for further charges to be placed on officers who these people have been in their care we consult the D.P.P. and in cases where the D.P.P. recommends that charges be laid, criminal charges be laid on these officers, we have done so.  You will note in recent time when we had, I think it’s out in San Pedro, where we had three of our police officers who were charged for murder, which are cases that will be heard in court, so I wouldn’t want to take it much further than that, but I can tell you that in every case that has been brought to our attention, of police brutality, they have been duly investigated and in instances where we have proven that there are reasons for our officers to be charged, they have been charged in every case.  We do not tolerate these things and we have a zero tolerance on police brutality and so as I said, I don’t know what the human rights report is saying so I can’t comment on that at this time but I can tell you what the general policy of the Ministry of National Security and all its departments that come under its portfolio is at this time.”

 

Based on the 2015 report, a total of fifty-eight formal complaints of alleged police misconduct had been lodged in June of last year.  

Be Sociable, Share!


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.

Advertise Here

1 Response for “Human Rights Report Indicates that Police Abuse is Rampant”

  1. Teddy Steinway says:

    It’s Mr. Lovell’s job to read the report ASAP and to discuss it with Mr. Saldivar.

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*