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Nov 28, 2007

Police offer relief to bereaved families

Story PictureBeing a police officer is a dangerous job anywhere in the world and Belize is no exception. With cops increasingly on the wrong end of deadly violence the department is trying to offer at least some kind of relief to grieving families.
News Five’s Marion Ali reports that while the money may be small, at least it’s a start.

Marion Ali, Reporting
Today the Belize Police Department handed out cheques to seven families of police officers who have died as well as officers who have lost loved ones this year. The monies were taken from the Police Bereavement Trust Fund, established in the year 2000 by former Minister of Home Affairs, Jorge Espat. The Fund was activated a couple months ago after the Department had collected the pledges made by the community, along with annual contributions by police officers. Deputy Police Commissioner Maureen Leslie explained that the amount offered is not much, but will grow with time.

Maureen Leslie, Deputy Police Commissioner
“It is not a lot of money because as the law is made up at this time, when and if a policeman passes on, that policeman’s spouse or mother or beneficiary as he has in his file will receive one thousand dollars. The plan is that as soon as that policeman passes on effective now we will be issuing the cheque the same day so that the family can use that money to prepare for funeral expenses, again, bearing in mind that the Police Department pays for all expenses when a policeman passes on. All expenses we pay for.”

While Rosa Moralez was grateful for the assistance, she hastened to say that nothing can compensate her for the loss of her son, Police Constable Ever Moralez. Moralez who was stabbed to death at the riverside in Dangriga on March third of this year. Her niece, Yamini Tzul, provided the translation.

Yamini Tzul, Niece of Deceased P.C. Ever Moralez,
“He didn’t like trouble and that’s why she doesn’t know why God sent that to her or why they kill her son like that. The only person that she trust that will help her is God.”

Deputy Commissioner Leslie says the Department has an insurance scheme for its officers, but it’s a voluntary initiative.

Maureen Leslie
“From you’re in the Academy for the past ten years , twelve years we signed an agreement with the Insurance Company which is now Clico, where officers paid twice a year and I’m also a member. You pay twice a year, it’s like eight something dollars and it’s for a twenty-five thousand dollar accidental death, that sort of thing. We encourage officers to take out personal insurance for medical purposes and the like because medical, as you know, is very expensive and we can only assist so much so it’s more a personal thing. The Department itself does not provide insurance for our serving officers.”

Marion Ali Reporting for News Five.

The amount of money offered to officers who lose their loved ones is on a different scale. Those who lose a child receive two hundred dollars, while the allotment for officers who lose a spouse is five hundred dollars. Aside from that, the Department also has a Police Reward Fund which authorizes the Commissioner to award grants of up to a thousand dollars for medical expenses and other emergencies.

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