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Oct 5, 2016

Geovannie Brackett and 5 Others Charged for Belcan Tire Burning

On Monday afternoon, an eerily familiar scene unfolded on the Belcan Bridge in Belize City as burning tires blocked traffic and filled the air with thick, black smoke. Unlike the scene we’ve seen in the past though, this protest blaze was short-lived. Firefighters extinguished the blaze within minutes and police detained several persons for questioning immediately after the incident. 2 days later, police have charged six persons in connection with the fire. One of those persons is well known activist, Geovanni Brackett. News Five’s Duane Moody has this story.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

At about four-thirty on Monday afternoon, tires were set on fire on BelCan Bridge, blocking the flow of traffic. By four a.m. the following day, several spots along the Hummingbird Highway were also blocked as a result of tires set ablaze. In both instances, police and fire officials responded to the scene and extinguished the fires. The bonfires are believed to be deliberate acts showing solidarity for teachers as they continue on their industrial action against the government of Belize in their Stand Up for Belize Campaign, focused on good governance.

 

Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA [File: October 3rd, 2016]

“What happen is that like every viewership we came out here, and we saw the bridge blocked. So we like any other person standing by, we were entertained by it. So we were watching it – then the police will arrest two of our people dehm. And Sticks was all day with those guys over at the Teachers’ Union. So we have an alibi. This is complete injustice.”

 

Well today, six persons were arraigned for the Belize City incident. On Tuesday, twenty-three year old Adrian Avaloy and two minors, ages seventeen and sixteen, were charged for the offence of “Setting Fire.” Avaloy et al were arraigned this afternoon for the offense. But police believed that the trio was paid to carry out the act. And this morning, after it was reported he was wanted for questioning, Citizens Organized through Liberty and Action (COLA) President, Geovannie Brackett—in the company of his attorney Kareem Musa—handed himself in to Police at Precinct One just after eight o’clock. Supporters and members of COLA waylaid the arrival of their leader. Shortly after, thirty-three year old Brackett along with thirty-year old Clayburn Pascascio and Perry Smith were jointly charged for “Cause a Bonfire to be Set.”

 

Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South

“As we speak Mister Geovannie Brackett and Mister Smith are being charged for causing bonfire to be made on the BelCan Bridge while others are being charged for setting a bonfire on BelCan Bridge.”

 

Reporter

“Sir so Mister Smith and Mister Brackett acted as agents; they paid these persons or they arranged for these persons to set this fire?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Well I am not going into specificity as it is a matter that is before the courts, but what I can tell you is that we have conducted our research, it is not a rushed investigation to ensure that we get all the evidence to be able to bring charges against those persons who are responsible. So from an investigate standpoint, we do have to be able to charge those persons who are being charged.”

 

Geovannie Brackett

After almost two hours inside the police station, Brackett, Smith and Pascascio were escorted to the police mobile and taken to the Queen Street Police Station where for fingerprinting, before which they will be taken to the court for arraignment. Although Brackett is known for speaking out against the government, he maintains his innocence.

 

Geovannie Brackett, Charged for Cause a Bonfire to be Set

“It is unfortunate what is happening here but I remain my innocence and I can tell you that I had nothing to do with any fire. I was just a bystander. We at COLA are activist. I don’t support any damage to life or anything, but I remain innocent. They will take me over to Queen Street and then to court and I will give a full press brief. It is completely malicious though; completely malicious. But this is the government that we are facing right now.”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“I will not go into details as to whether or not we have a surveillance video. In due time the evidence will be shown as the defendants will be given disclosure and they will know exactly what we have against them.”

 

Kareem Musa

Attorney and Caribbean Shores area rep., Kareem Musa is representing Brackett in this misdemeanor offense. He believes that the charges are political motivated to muzzle the firebrand activist.

 

Kareem Musa, Attorney for Geovannie Brackett

“This is a government that has been union busting over the past couple weeks and Geovannie Brackett is a vocal activist if not the most vocal activist in Belize, so I can see where this is headed. But really and truly the offense falls under the summary jurisdiction offenses act, section 3-123 and it falls under the same section with dynamite that people light at Christmas time.”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“I am an independent minded person and at the end of the day, as a police department we have always supported anyone who want to demonstrate; the activists and so forth. And we have never been known to stifle them. So if people say that, that is their prerogative. But I can clearly state that what happened today is a decision that I took after the investigation has been concluded. And if I have to wait for the Prime Minister or the Commissioner to tell me to do my job, then I don’t belong where I am.”

 

According to Musa, if there is a conviction, the penalty is a maximum fine of three hundred dollars. Duane Moody for News Five.

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1 Response for “Geovannie Brackett and 5 Others Charged for Belcan Tire Burning”

  1. HLU says:

    Brackett loves attention. Of all the places to be in Belize City, you chose to be at the bridge at the very time the tires were being set. As a law abiding citizen, and activist for what is right, one would think he would have stood up against someone setting fire to the bridge and possibly damaging the asset.
    Only a person that wants attention will call the media to set a time and date as to when they should be at the Police Station for him to turn himself him. This is the problem with the media in Belize as it is drawn to petty fools instead of real reporting. The issue at hand is kids not being in school and teachers using a medium for unwarranted holidays because 50% of them are not actively striking and just enjoying the “vacation”. Next week they will be off again on meetings!!

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