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Jun 27, 2012

Smiling Meats raided by GSU for drugs. Is ‘old beef’ the cause?

The search started after three and lasted for four long hours until Tuesday night. The Gang Suppression Unit cordoned off the area and rained down on the house and business of Winston Smiling and his son, Mathew on New Road.  They meticulously combed the premises, claiming they were looking for drugs. The customers that dropped by were turned away, employees were traumatized and the raid drew a number of spectators. The incident has caused a huge embarrassment for the well-known Smilings who say it’s not good for their reputation and for business. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Smiling Meats on New Road is known for its prime cut meats, but it seems that a tipster led the police to believe that the facility and the house on the second floor may have been used to store drugs. According to Winston Smiling, on Tuesday from three in the afternoon until eight in the night, the premises were raided. He was visibly upset as he spoke to the media during the search.

 

Winston Smiling, Devastated by GSU search of Smiling Meats

“They say they have reliable information that we are doing drugs in this meat shop. And as a result they were doing a search. So I say officer I have no problem; feel free tell me what you want sir. And then on second thought I said but only three ah unu? Bring some more police, I want unu do this thing properly. Shortly after a jeep load a police come; bout ten of them. So they started to search. All along the while they were good—I could never complain—until the second GSU took shift. I thick his name was Arzu. He started to act like an a [bleep].”

 

Arthur Saldivar

This afternoon, Attorney Arthur Saldivar was flanked by his clients, Winston and his son Matthew Smiling, as they gave a press conference regarding the GSU search.

 

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Winston and Matthew Smiling

“For the most, people in Belize City and especially in this neighborhood were shocked—not to mention my clients—that they would have been targeted for this kind of treatment; to be searched under the premise that they were in anyway engaged in drugs and business to do with guns and that type of thing. We are talking about Winston Smiling and Smiling Meats—an establishment and a man that has been around for more than fifty years; impeccable in terms of his business acumen and character, he has never had an issue; has never been associated with drugs or firearms in any way. So certainly one will wonder what would have motivated the police, the GSU in particular, to have done what they did. But in so doing, it should never be lost in anyone that they violated the rights of Mister Smiling, his business and the workers that he had here. They were held against their will, falsely imprisoned with the establishment—couldn’t leave—deliveries to the business could not be made. So actual loss occurred and the reputation of this man—a reputation that has been guarded well over the years and that has been cultivated well over the years, is now in question as a result of the actions of the police.”

 

Matthew Smiling

Matthew Smiling, Devastated by GSU search of Smiling Meats

“It was a shock to me to find that I am still the present U-17 National Team Coach to be treated this way. In respect to the search in the business and my house, for the most part, to me it was done professionally; didn’t have any problems with the officers. But just the fact that they said that they acted on a report that I have a large quantity of drugs in my property; now I am an alleged drug dealer. My reputation has been tarnished. I don’t know who I can turn to now to repair that reputation. Like I said, I am still the Junior National Team Coach; what can I tell these kids now? I’ll be looked upon as an alleged drug dealer. My family now will be looked upon as again an alleged drug dealer’s family. Who can I turn to for answers? Will I get any apology for this?”

 

The apology, rather redress, will be sought after in the courts.

 

Arthur Saldivar

“Section (5) of the constitution clearly expresses that. There are a litany of precedence that establishes that where a functionary of the state acts outside the scope of his authority and oppresses or intimidates an individual citizen, the state then is responsible; pecuniary responsibility for that action.”

 

Rowland Parks, Reporter Press

“How would you measure what you just said against the provisions of the police act which enables the police to carry out their functions such as searching and so on?”

 

Arthur Saldivar

“Well, the police act is subsidiary legislation; it comes under the constitution—it doesn’t supersede it. And where the constitution requires reasonable suspicion or probable cause before a person can be arrested or detained; that hurdle must be passed. We are talking again about a man who, for more than twenty years, has been a commissioner of the Supreme Court, a Justice of the Peace. We are talking about his son who is the coach of Under 17 Basketball Team for Belize, who has never been arrested; an athlete of national renown. We really and truly cannot continue to accept the abuses that have been taking place in our society by those who are charged with responsibility to serve and protect.”

 

Rowland Parks

“Sir so you will be filing a constitutional claim against the GSU and the Attorney General and the Minister of Police?”

 

Arthur Saldivar

“Certainly, the Minister of Police, the Commissioner of Police. We had the situation where a young lady, one of the staff members in Smiling Meats was so traumatized that she couldn’t control her bowel movements and had to soil herself on the spot. This kinda thing is uncalled for. We can’t have these kinds of abuses taking place.”

 

Winston Smiling

Winston Smiling

“We have friends who would look on it as a very stupid act, but then you would have others who are quick to believe that we are involved in any sort of illegal doing. And I want to say to the nation; not one Smiling has been ever hold and charged for anything like this. As a matter of fact, this old Smiling not even smoke cigarette; I don’t even drink coffee okay. I am a milk man.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Mister Smiling, does you or any of your family members have any “beef,” as they call it, with members of the GSU?”

 

Winston Smiling

“Not to my knowledge. I noh know if my younger son though; but I doubt it. the police; I have a very good working relationship with the police. I was always there with the police before this GSU came into existence. I could recall I have people in high ranking in the police force who have been calling me from last night; surprised at what took place and claim that they didn’t know anything about it and how it happened.”

 

Saldivar says he will file his court documents against the police within a week. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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28 Responses for “Smiling Meats raided by GSU for drugs. Is ‘old beef’ the cause?”

  1. Yvonne says:

    Read

  2. Earl Grey says:

    This has GOT TO STOP… WHO WILL BE NEXT???
    With NO PROBABLE cause they are the – GANG SUPPRESSION UNIT GANG!!!

    BELIZE IS TURNING INTO A POLICE STATE…slowly but surely.

  3. Marie says:

    So because he has been clean 50 years means he is above the law if there is a report? or suspicion? and don’t most bad guys have the guise of helping out poor kids? like Escobar building football fields, Capone soup kitchens? and El Chapo throwing parties for the poor? I don’t think Smilings are bad at all, but if Polcie need to do their job, why the insult or reputitional damage? and he brags about finding out who snitched and meddling in higher up Police workings?

  4. Ricky Malthus says:

    It is transparent that Barrow will attack PUP supporters using this drug ruse as a defense. Barrow ,the Idi Amin dictator, will choke the PUPs to death using the Police , BDF, the Amandala, etc. God save Belize from official thuggery and the Barrow controlled “rude boy” gangs.

  5. Rod says:

    This a tough one good luck smiling.

  6. Al says:

    If they are innocent then I am sorry to hear what happened, if they are guilty then I am glad that the raid was kept in secret. HIs buddies in high positions would have tipped him off so I am glad that it was done in that manner. Police need to get their integrity and respect back. It is time they begin to crack down and bring order back to the people. Belize is a small country, yet the drug dealers want to cripple their own people with this drug sickness. We need to stop killing the future of the country.

  7. RawBelizean says:

    Man….this “Chisme” or “Rumors” business has to stopped. This only looks bad on the Minister responsible for National Security, that he has poor personnel working for him, that thier intelligence is a complete FAILURE. I Agree that now the respected citizen will have to sue the Government.

    N.B – Global viewers would like to know since this Government has came in howmany cases like these are infront of the Court and has been lost by GOB. Similar, with the Land matter cases, I heard they loosing all of them. Please can we have a listing or a overall report made?

  8. Truth says:

    I do believe they are looking at the wrong premises.. start looking at the ministers house, vehicles, business etc. Who questions them NO one, SO LOGICALLY if no one questions You, what do you think they will do.. HELLO..

    They bend the rules, define the rules and regulations.. DAMN peeps mien.. Do your JOB..

  9. GSU commanding officer says:

    We all know who made the report, Running W Meats, this plays right into their hands….. missed deliveries they pick up the slack with prime cut meats…. come on ppl…. there has to be a connection between them and the GSU, look into who recently got a bribe of pork chops or grind steak.

  10. MAjestic1 says:

    This is man here is one of the Nation’s Builders, how could happen, he is the nephew of the Father of the Nation.

  11. now i see says:

    I know the Smiling family and what they did to them is wrong. Here in BZ everyone knows who the drug dealers are and the ones that do the money laundry.why the Smilling family? Why dont you guys go to Corozal and ask about the drug dealers or just drive around and see. I know people that work at a company delivering and now you should see his house, the cars and not to mention the cash. Dont be blind when *they* tell you. Have eyes for everyone. Mr. Prime minister everyone is blaming you for what is happening in our country please prove them wrong. I believed in you and i know that others do also. Dont leave us bad. Dont matter what colour we are we are one nation and should stand strong. Sorry to hear what happen to you Mr Smilling and sons.

  12. Insider says:

    GSU no do no move without Barrow knowledge.

  13. b.Jones says:

    A very shall price to pay in the name of serving and protecting the Entire country. His door was kicked down, he was informed upon entry, he was even allowed to make suggestions as to how to conduct the search. Less affluent people would not have been granted such luxuries so i must say that he did receive favorable treatment, based on who he was. I don’t see a fight here. No one should be above a search. If u weren’t allowed to search certain people the police could never do their jobs bc every gun man and drugs man know affluent people & would hide themselves and things on/in rich-man property. To the GSU…Damn if you do Damn if you don’t …smh

  14. Tanya says:

    THIS IS A HARD ONE.. I DO BELIEVE THE GSU SHOULD EXISST EVEN IF SOMETIMES THERI INTELIGENCE FAILS. I DO BELIVE THEY NEED TO BE SEPERATE FROM THE POLICE FORCE, THEY LASO NEED TO BE PROFESSIONALS AS THEY WERE WHEN THEY SEARCHED THE SMILINGS, I BELIEVE NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW EVEN THE PRIME MINISTER AND I BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE IN DRUGS ARE THE ONES YOU LEAST EXPECT. THIS DOES NOT MEAN I BELIEVE THE SMILING ARE DRUGDEALERSS. BUT WHOEVER HAS NOTHING TO HIDE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE NATION THEN WE NEED TO COMPLY. HOWEVER, THE GSU NEED TO BETTER THEIR INTELIGENCE, BE PROFESSIONAL, DO NOT GO BY VICTIMIZATION OR PARTY POLITICS INSTRUCTIONS BUT BY WHAT IT WAS SET UP TO BE AND THEY WILL NOT ALWAYS BE PERFECT. THE BEST INTELIGENCE AGENCY IN THE WORLD HAS FAILED.. CIA WITH THE IRAK WAR. KEEP GETTING BETTER GSU, FOR THE NATIONS SAKE..

  15. Insider33 says:

    PM thinks no one is watching, but we know who is running the Drug Business. The PM is and other ministers, just wait and the nation will witness for themselve who is the government, a bunch of criminals.

  16. Joe says:

    Our Prime Minister or gang leader,
    You pay the gangs and send the GSU on our good citizen, you have the knowledge who the drug dealer are. Oh i forget u are the LEADER!

    Belize will be better off belonging to the Guats.

  17. reatph says:

    this happen because another company is trying to take over.

  18. BlackPerl says:

    GSU jus hate to see Belizeans surviving mien

  19. CEO says:

    One drug sniffing dog could have saved a lot of effort and embarasment! These dogs can sniff what we cannot even see. Ask America to donate one if you cannot buy one!

  20. naughtbbgrl@yahoo.com says:

    Citizens have a right to freedom of speech there is a culture in belize to keep quiet because you can pay fu u mouth the poor ones have to keep shush cos them got no lawyer. But sometimes along comes a citizen who can defend himself they have that right. Should ban together form lawsuits heck like the coalition if injustices are committed say them.

  21. Storm says:

    It’s not right that the police can search anyone’s private property just based on some anonymous tip, without showing a judge what justifies the invasion. That used to be required, as far back as the Magna Carta. When did we lose our right of privacy, to be left alone in whatever humble home we might have? My house used to be my castle, but no more.

    I don’t mean to say police cannot search WHEN THEY HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE and either a warrant signed by a judge, or an emergency situation where they cannot take the time to ask a judge for a warrant.

    But if our privacy can be taken away by some supposed anonymous tip, then who is to say that neighbours will not make false tips about neighbours they don’t like? Or maybe the police will create their own phony tips?

    There must be a line to protect our homes, and it used to be our Constitution.

  22. citizen #2 says:

    I know the Smiling family, and they are not that type of family. But, stop balming the GOB for everything. This country has been corrupted for a long time, don’t forget we had corruption under the PUP also. That is all I have to say.

  23. Louisville,Ky says:

    Apart from all the embarasment this episode caused the Smiling family, it was equally as inconvenient . What… a raid that lasted, four, five hours? I don’t know who’s Intelligece gathering mechanism GSU is using so if there is absolutely no merit to the information, then this exercise was down right malicious and bad minded.
    What we know for sure is that there are lots of guns and drugs circulating in the Jewel and, we are just as confident that it’s not these young thugs that are killing each other that are bringing them in. Does GSU know something we don’t? They better……..!

  24. Charlie Price says:

    Who has to SIGN A SEARCH WARRANT??? Why was there NO INVESTIGATION before the raid??? Something smells funny here…

  25. alley cat says:

    this is what I like about this gov. pup or udp gets no protection. GREAT!!! Cuthkelvin container load got bust, Rain Drops and CO. got hauled off to jail. You really think this would happen if PUP was in power. Come on… No man is above the law no matter which party you ride with…

  26. Eye in the Sky says:

    Winston Smiling is an @$$h0le especially when he is drunk and when he had power a few years ago. He is a nobody now. Finally he gets to feel what it is like to get roughed up and no chinee man ambasador to save him.
    Dis is UDP against PUP war. Remember what happened in Germany with the Jews. It is happening in its own way in Belize.

  27. soulsista says:

    Shame and disgrace on the part of Belize Government the day will come when they search the wrong one and they will know

  28. Storm says:

    He’s not Smiling today!

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