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Oct 30, 2007

Minister comments on charges against policemen

Story PictureAnd while the Police Department celebrated the newest cops to hit the block, this afternoon Minister of Home Affairs Ralph Fonseca responded to public outcry following the collapse to the Ben Bou-Nahra manslaughter case in the Supreme Court. According to Fonseca, the officers who took the stand have been charged with perjury and there has been no deliberate effort to thwart justice.

Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Home Affairs
“Well you have thousands of case files moving back and forth. I don’t think anyone could ever, precisely because I try to play a supporting role and facilitate the police and I’m not hands-on with the day to day operation, because I am cognizant of the mistakes that people have made, like with the Leader of the Opposition when he was in charged of the police. So that has absolutely nothing to do with the ministry side of things, it has to with operations and obviously the Commissioner has acted, his zero tolerance policy has been working. Things will happen, but they have to be corrected and he’s been correcting them.”

Janelle Chanona
“You mention briefly about close circuit cameras. I know that you’ve have been criticise for using wiretaps, I think it is, what would you like to say in response to the criticism that may be the police department is taking on a big brother approach?”

Ralph Fonseca
“I have never heard anyone criticising me about wiretaps.”

Janelle Chanona
“The party sorry, I don’t know if you’ve seen this ad on Positive Vibes…”

Ralph Fonseca
“I know what has happened is that some people that are totally fed up with the U.D.P. and their hypocrisy, tape their own people when they were U.D.P.’s and they have now come over. And because they are being attack and their lives are being threatened by the way–the police has got reports from at least two of them that their lives are being threatened on a daily basis–that they have decided to defend themselves with real life situation. Incidentally what’s very interesting, the last tape as I understand it was the catalyst that created that environment for it to be taped between the Leader the of Opposition talking about a gun or something like that, was the very Mayor herself who put him on the speaker phone and said tape it.”

Janelle Chanona
“What would you like to say though that maybe people, [their] sense of privacy they feel have been revoked, especially regarding the cameras?”

Ralph Fonseca
“Yes, yes certainly. Well that’s why I mentioned Robert Peel for instance, who is the old English guy that started this whole concept of modern police, saying that you’ve got to evolve but at the same time you’ve got to take into consideration people’s rights. The close circuit cameras that we’re talking about are cameras to be put on the streets in a public places. No one should be worried about having a camera looking at them in a public place.”

Today Fonseca also announced Government’s latest initiative, Get a Life, which is scheduled to be launched in the first week of December. According to Fonseca, a task force of officials from Youth for the Future and the Ministry of Housing and Education will implement a construction programme, with two hundred youths from Belize City. The participants will be taught various skills and be paid a monthly stipend.

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