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Feb 6, 2017

“Belcan Six” Learn Final Trial Date

Today was set for trial in the case of Geovannie Brackett, President of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA); Perry “Sticks” Smith, the founder of the Days of Healing organization; as well as thirty-year-old Clayburn Pascascio, twenty-three year old Adrian Avaloy and two minors, ages seventeen and sixteen. But it did not happen due to issues with disclosure and case management. Brackett, Smith and Pascascio are charged with causing a bonfire of tires to be set on the Belcan Bridge on October third, 2016 – the first day of strike action organized by the Belize National Teachers’ Union. Avaloy and the minors are accused of actually setting the fire, which stopped traffic on the important connection between north and south side Belize City at rush hour that Monday evening. All the defendants maintain that they are not guilty. A final trial date to determine their fate has been set, as News Five’s Aaron Humes reports.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Standing in for fellow Magistrate Carlon Mendoza, Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith this morning agreed to give the prosecution a final chance to clear disclosure for the six defendants accused of, respectively, setting and causing a bonfire to be set on the Belcan Bridge on the evening of October third, 2016. As chief defendant Geovannie Brackett told us that day, they saw what was happening, but had, he said, nothing to do with it happening.


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.”


But two days later, Brackett, Smith and the other defendants were arrested and charged. They were marched to court in chains and put in the same holding cell as the likes of accused murderer and sex offender Bert Vasquez, among others. But after the strike’s conclusion, this matter dragged because according to Brackett and Smith’s attorney Kareem Musa, police and the prosecution have been late with disclosure. They got their final warning from the Chief Magistrate this morning.


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Attorney for Geovannie Brackett and Perry Smith

“The prosecution was once again at a loss; they did not have their disclosure ready. They were supposed to have partial disclosure on the last date – they were supposed to give us the remaining disclosure [on] December sixteenth; and even to this day we have not received disclosure. But there was an undertaking given today, before the Chief Magistrate that disclosure would be made today; hopefully by the end of today we get that.  This is a fresh new matter, but we are promised the disclosure today, so we are hoping that we can get that out of the way and be ready for trial on March twenty-second.”


Brackett has mostly kept a low profile since this incident and a previous one where he and Raymond Rivers were removed from the National Assembly for heckling Churches Senator Ashley Rocke and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Minister Godwin Hulse. Today he offered his usual unapologetic challenge to the Government of the day while still proclaiming his innocence of the crime of which he is accused.


Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett, Charged for Causing a Bonfire to Be Set

“I was hoping that we’d have gotten this over with today; I think that I has been dragged far too long for a misdemeanour – am I right? I mean, it’s not like we’re being charged for murder. The political directorate of the day, if they would show this same vigour against their very own people who can scam people of hundreds of thousands of dollars in land deals and cheat this country out of precious land; if we can go after the murderers of Pastor Lucas and those who conspired against Pastor Lucas – there are so many things we could go after, but we choose to go after some shadow-boxing. Today is just a day that we can see that justice is being pulled in the wrong direction, but nevertheless, we stand here innocent.”


That guilt or innocence will be determined on March twenty-second, the date of the trial before Magistrate Mendoza. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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