Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Crime » Arrested in U.S., Kaseke returns to Belize
Jul 28, 2004

Arrested in U.S., Kaseke returns to Belize

Story Picture
As details of the in-flight fiasco and subsequent arrest of Solicitor General Elson Kaseke continued to emerge today, the man himself returned to Belize this morning. Arriving on the early American Airlines flight from Miami, Kaseke made his way through the Phillip Goldson International Airport where he cleared customs and immigration. As he exited the building, News 5 asked the SOLGEN to explain how it was that he had to spend thirty-six hours in a Virginia jail.

Janelle Chanona

?Can you tell us what happened on the plane, sir? On Sunday??

Elson Kaseke

(Incoherent mumbling)

Janelle Chanona

?You want to say anything to the Belizean people??

Elson Kaseke

?Yeah. There apparently is a thirty minutes rule that when you are entering Washington you don?t stand up. I stood up and I had some problems with the airport security.?

Janelle Chanona

?They hurt you? That mark on your face…they hurt you??

Elson Kaseke

?No, no. It was amicably resolved thank you.?

Janelle Chanona

?You have anything else to say about the incident Mr. Kaseke??

Elson Kaseke

?No.?



?No? Nothing to the Belizean people? Will you keep being on SOLGEN? Do you think…after this??

Elson Kaseke

?Why??

Janelle Chanona

?Well, it?s just become an international embarrassment.?

Elson Kaseke

?For who??

Janelle Chanona

?You were arrested.?

Elson Kaseke

?So??

Janelle Chanona

?You are innocent? Did you plead innocent or guilty of the charges??

Elson Kaseke

?Oh Jesus. I didn?t plead guilty to anything.?

Kaseke is charged with two misdemeanours: obstruction of justice and interfering with the operation of an aircraft. News 5 understands that U.S. attorney Johnathon Shapiro has been retained by the Government of Belize, but according to a Belmopan source, Kaseke will be reimbursing G.O.B. for all legal fees. We are told that Shapiro is optimistic that the matter will be dealt with ex-parte, that is, he will attempt to convince Virginia prosecutors that the case can be heard without Kaseke being in the court, or even in the United States for that matter. It is not clear whether this means that Kaseke will plead guilty to the charges.

Tonight the story out of the Kaseke camp is that the solicitor general, travelling from Miami to Washington, D.C. in business class, was being verbally harassed by a passenger seated next to him who was not a particular friend of lawyers. Kaseke and the passenger exchanged words, but in the last half hour of the flight, Kaseke apparently tried to change seats to get away from his offending neighbour. But with the post 9/11 half hour don?t-get-out-your-seat-near-Washington rule in effect, the flight attendant immediately asked him to sit down. Kaseke was informed that not only would his hand luggage be searched on the spot, but that upon arrival at the gate, he would have to undergo additional security measures. Kaseke is said to have agreed to all this but when local authorities informed him that they would be taking him in…, Kaseke started protesting, claiming that the affair had become a violation of his rights. And that?s when the cops slapped him with obstruction of justice, which is Virginia vernacular for resisting arrest. That as we said, is the unattributed version coming out of the Kaseke camp.

And while that story makes for interesting reading, it does fly in the face of what American Airlines spokespersons in Texas told News 5 yesterday, which indicated that Kaseke was verbally abusive to flight personnel to the point where he was detained in the air by security officers and once on the ground, handed over to local police.

Information received today confirms what we reported last night: that the incident was exacerbated by Kaseke?s over consumption of alcohol.

As for what action, if any, Government may take, there are three authorities under which the Solicitor General could be disciplined for his behaviour:

1. Under section 107 of the constitution of Belize, the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister and on recommendation of the Attorney General, could take measures against Kaseke.

2. Within the Public Service Commission, the legal and judicial services commission, chaired by Anthony Sylvester, could recommend action be taken against Kaseke.

3. There is also the Bar Association, under President Christopher Coye, could advise Kaseke that his conduct was unbecoming of an attorney which might lead to removal from the bar.

Acting Attorney General Godfrey Smith declined comment today on how Kaseke?s arrest in the United States will be dealt with.

Kaseke and crown counsel Rhondine Twist were on their way to Washington, D.C. to attend a week of follow up meetings concerning the American Convention on Corruption at the Organization of American States when the incident occurred. They were on official business and we are told that their airfare and expenses were paid for by the Government of Belize. News 5 understands that Twist has remained at the O.A.S. to represent Belize at the event. It has not been explained why Kaseke chose to return to Belize rather than continue on his official business in Washington.

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

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*