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Jul 26, 2012

Fisherman says he was detained after a raid that yielded nothing

A fisherman of Alligator Head Caye in Southern Belize is complaining that the Belize Coast Guard reportedly carried out two raids at his house on the island. According to Jamaal Tablada, he went out to the Caye on July twelfth with three employees and four kids. He says that as they arrived, he noticed a Coast Guard vessel coming behind. Tablada was then informed by a caretaker that the officers were also on the Caye the night before and had ransacked his house. The fisherman alleges that he and his employees were forced to stand in the sun while being questioned from eleven in the morning until around two-thirty and after that, they were reportedly detained without reason. To make matters worse, his house was left unsecured and was robbed while he was locked up in Belize City. Tablada says he was told that the Coast Guard was searching for drugs and guns, but nothing incriminating was found.

 

Jamaal Tablada

Jamaal Tablada, Fisherman, Alligator Head Caye

“I approached the caretaker of the island and he told us that the Coast Guard had come the night [before] and they ransacked the place and they were doing all types of stuff; they stoned down the radio, they had their muddy boots in my sofa, they were laying down and a whole heap of other stuff they were doing, just plain disrespectful, you know. They came at around eleven o’clock that morning as we got there and they came and pointed up big machine gun at us: “nobody move, everybody put unnu hand up”, like that. I had my son with me and I had three other kids with me, relatives of mine. I told the officer I don’t want any problem, we will cooperate. Throughout all of this they were still rough with us. They allowed us to let the kids go into the house and I closed the door because I didn’t want the kids to be seeing this type of stuff. I asked them what was the problem, but they didn’t want to reply they just said just keep your mouth shut up and you relax yourself. 

I thought they were leaving when they said we wah ker unnu dah town. I asked dem why, what’s the reason why and dehn seh noh ask we nothing. So I told dem I said I am a fisherman, I work hard for my money. I just came to sea and you all can’t take me back to town. Who’s gonna give me back my money to go back to sea? They didn’t want to hear none ah that. I even told them alright you’re taking me back to Belize City, tow the boat. They seh we noh wah tow no boat, we wah drive dis, we wah burn out all yoh gas and yoh ice; everything wah waste. Like that they told me.  They took me to the Coast Guard Base at three miles by where the police booth it, I saw my boat come in about half an hour after we arrived there. they handed us over to the CIB. They took us to Queen Street Police Station where I asked multiple police officers why is the reason that they brought me here, why are they locking up my—even the caretaker? Why are they locking up all these people? They left my place abandoned and when I went back to Caye my place was totaled, I lost everything from out of my house. The only thing that was there was the sofa set; a lot of my gears, fishing gears and loads of stuff were missing from my place.

What they did I thought was totally wrong and I intend to seek legal action against them and I hope that they know that I am serious and I hope it doesn’t happen again.”

 

Tablada and his employees were detained for forty-eight hours and then released. He says that he was never charged or questioned during that time, but he ended up in the hospital because he is a diabetic and was not allowed to get his medication from his boat. One of his employees, Alvin Jones told us today that there have been several similar raids at the house on Alligator Head Caye and they continue to be harassed even though nothing incriminating has ever been found. Due to the late hour of the interview, we were not able to get a comment from the Coast Guard, but we will follow up on Friday.

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6 Responses for “Fisherman says he was detained after a raid that yielded nothing”

  1. Bear says:

    What is the Coast Guard reply to these accusations? Who uses the house when the fisherman is away, and for what? I’d like all the facts to be known.

    Based on this story alone, it seems the Coast Guard people need to understand they must be professional and respectful, and they work for the law-abiding people of Belize. If they abuse good people, over a period of time they will lose credibility, cooperation of the citizens, and effectiveness. I think some lessons in those areas are needed for the entire Coast Guard.

  2. Rod says:

    Sue sue sue make sure they pay you fu everything lost and for anything else you can think of

  3. Uncle Benji says:

    Tough luck. The Coast Guard does an excellent job. Instead of bellyaching maybe we should all try to do our part, like taking of our gansta looking sunglasses when doing a TV interview.

  4. Bzeangirl says:

    I personally believe in treating people fairly regardless of who you are. I always read these comments and I always get upset because our people of Belize are always rude and negative.

    I see nothing wrong with the young man sun glasses as a matter of what I see most fisher men using those? Is there something as a gansta looking sunglasses??

    BDF, Police and coast guard are all people just as us and should respect others and their properties.

    We have some “educated” but stupid attitude people who needs to think differently. Try look for the good in people instead of making everything so negative in our country.

  5. Belizean says:

    Agree wid u Bzeangirl

  6. Seletar says:

    Sunglasses after dark and inside look stupid to me, and when I was a lot younger I never wore them outside, either. Then a reputable eye doctor told me that the bright tropical sun seriously damages our vision over time, so now I always wear them outside in daylight hours. The gift of sight is too precious to squander, who wants cataracts and other problems?

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