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Jul 3, 2017

Was Richard Garcia Death “Accidental” or Result of Poor Training? House Debates

Corozal Southeast area representative Florencio Marin Junior rose on the House adjournment on Friday after colleague Julius Espat’s urgent plea regarding crime in his Cayo South. In Marin Junior’s constituency, police shot Richard Garcia dead in Chunox following an eviction attempt, leaving villagers riled up.  Marin Junior contended that it can’t hurt to give police more training and equipment for these kinds of situations, but also laid some blame at the feet of commanding officer Senior Superintendent Dennis Arnold. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow, while invoking the many strides made by Police in terms of increased membership and standards, contended that it was too soon for the kind of sweeping pronouncement made by Marin Junior.

 

Florencio Marin Jr.

Florencio Marin Jr., Area Rep., Corozal Southeast

“I believe such an incident never had to reach the level where it reached, where a person lost his life and where the villagers had to react that way. I believe that the main issue here – I remember saying something, commenting like this in the Budget, Madam Speaker – our security forces must be trained properly as well as equipped properly. However you want to put it and I am not blaming, casting any blame singularly on any officer – I don’t believe that. I have the greatest respect for these trained Belizean professionals; I know perhaps the most stressful job in this country is that of a police officer, because every day he or she is out there, he never knows what threat he or she is going to face – at least we don’t face it daily; they do. But I believe, Madam Speaker, that this clearly shows that there is not attention enough devoted to the training, the proper education of these officers.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t know how the member, from what he recounted, concludes or wants us to conclude that what happened is as a consequence of training – there’s no “there” there. You haven’t established that. It may have simply been an accident. You need to give us more if you expect us to ….no, no, no.”

 

Florencio Marin Jr.

“I could respond to you, Prime Minister, saying I need to give you more? I’m not quarrelling with you and I’m not looking for one.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Madam Speaker…”

 

Florencio Marin Jr.

“But you said I need to give you more.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No, not now. You had your chance, sir.”

 

Laura Longsworth, Speaker of the House

“Honorable Member…”

 

Florencio Marin Jr.

“Sir, you were the one [who] said I need to give you more.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“You needed, then… let me change my tenses; you needed to have given us more.”

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