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Dec 24, 2012

Witness Protection Program to be introduced in 2013

Elodio Aragon

While murder statistics are at an all time high, convictions are extremely low, but a new unit at the Police Department might change that. According to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon, they are preparing to launch a Witness Support Unit in early 2013, which will provide assistance and protection for persons cooperating in major cases. While it is not a full-fledged witness protection program, Aragon says it should help with getting more witnesses to testify in court.

 

ACP Elodio Aragon, O.C., Eastern Division

“What is happening, we have, through the support of the US Embassy, we have received assistance in that of a small building where a small unit will be formed—it’s already formed—but I think come the first week of January of next year, we will see that unit come into full swing, we will be operational. And it is basically unit that is a Witness Support Unit and that is basically there to assist and deal with witnesses that are cooperating with the police to look after their basic safety when it comes to assistance. It’s not a full witness protection program, because that is something that we at this point in time, the department cannot sustain economically. But nevertheless a witness support unit will assist in ensuring for our witnesses to know the time and the dates they need to come to court and even assistance by the police to pick them up to bring them to court etcetera. And this will be mostly for the major crimes that are of major concern to us as a department. So this small witness support unit will come into operation in the first week of January. I think presently all the ground work is being done to ensure that it is ready to become operational within the next week or so.”

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7 Responses for “Witness Protection Program to be introduced in 2013”

  1. Just that simple says:

    Hide them in the chiquibul caves, or use McAfee’s fortress, with some new dogs.

    Considering all the US donated equipment to the police that has come up missing a year later, and the weapons stolen from the BDF Armory taking a week to detect. Good luck on this program, clearly witnesses willing to tell the truth putting their lives on the line, need all the support a real country can provide, but you know where I am going with this. With 8000 square miles and families, where can you safely keep them? Put aside GOB incompetence.

    Speaking of McAfee, is there a murder case that has been solved? bullet tests on the dogs came up with anything? Seems like a match is enough to get extradition, so this Belize citizen can have a day in court and have the opportunity to clear his name, or go down in flames. There is a dead body, is there a case against McAfee and can the prosecutor figure it out? Are his employees still in jail? Is this just another strange unloved Belize news story legends are made of?

  2. Luis says:

    Serioulsy? What a joke. I am a victim of it and God Bless those men (Leaders), who think that bringing witnesses to court will help reduce crime or aid more conviction. Aint gonna work, papa!.

  3. Storm says:

    I hope there is enough substance in the program to encourage witnesses to get to court and help police and DPP win convictions!

    It’s an important gesture, so I am optimistic. The longest journey begins with a single step.

  4. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    BULL !!!

  5. Bear says:

    The Jewel is not the only Caricom country with a problem protecting witnesses — small countries always have that problem, Everyone knows the other families, and there is no sure place to hide..

    A real solution might be found by making agreements with some of the other countries to have temporary exchange of witnesses — let our witnesses live and work in Barbados, for example, and let theirs live and work here. AND MAKE IT A LAW THAT ANY CASE INVOLVING A CONCERN FOR WITNESS SAFETY MUST GO TO TRIAL WITHIN A SHORT TIME, LIKE 90 OR 120 DAYS, NO EXCEPTIONS — if a lawyer cannot accommodate it on his calendar, he can be removed.

    By agreement, maybe they could even be given temporary new identification in the other country.

  6. K says:

    I dont see how this is guaranteeing safety. How does it help if the victim knows when to go to court and the court date if they are not willing to talk. Court cases doesnt get thrown out because witnesses cannot find transportation to court or know their court date. They get thrown out because people are too scared to talk, end up dead or get threatened these are what they need to address. Good luck regardless, atleast some kind of effort is being made.

  7. L says says:

    ..! Is there anyone that believes that the reason for low conviction rates is because witnesses don’t know the court date and/or have a ride to get to court? Does intimidation, threats, gone missing, changed stories ring a bell? I’m sorry but it seems this new “Witness Support Unit” is a taxi service i.e. pick up and drop off.

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