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May 12, 2017

O.A.S. Report in Hands of Belize Police; Will It Be Publicly Released?

Wilfred Elrington

Last August, an independent investigative report commissioned by the Organization of American States cleared members of the Belize Defence Force who were part of a patrol in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul that encountered several Guatemalan nationals engaged in illegal activity. The resulting fire fight led to the death of Guatemalan minor Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano nearly thirteen months ago. Despite public comment from the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as from the Guatemalan authorities, including a statement on the matter in the House, the actual report has not been publicly released. Responding to a question as to why not from area representative Said Musa, Minister Wilfred Elrington pointed to an annex of the framework for the Confidence Building Measures but also stated that the matter is still under investigation for a possible criminal offense – by whom, he did not say. He also denied any formal agreement between the governments to suppress the report.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The full report of the O.A.S. Investigative Commission was made available to the Commissioner of Police, to form part of the investigation that is underway by our authorities. The report is a crucial part of the overall investigation surrounding the incident, and should form part of the dossier that will be sent by the Police to the Director of Public Prosecutions for her determination.”

 

Said Musa, Area Rep., Fort George

“[Is] it because the Government of Belize agreed with the Government of Guatemala that it should not be published?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Madam Speaker, given the seniority of the member from Fort George, and given that the fact that he is perhaps one of the most senior attorneys at law if not the most senior attorney at law, he would know, automatically, that a document of this nature, which has to be a public document because it is going to be used in prosecution if that is done, cannot be withheld by any agreement between the Government of Belize and the Government of Guatemala. And there is no basis for doing that.”

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