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Sep 19, 2014

Audrey Matura-Shepherd on Preventative Detention

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Preventative Detention – the proposed amendment to the constitution was the cause of fiery debate, controversy and contention. So much so that Prime Minister Dean Barrow backed down from the law which would have made it legal for police to detain persons before the commission of any crime. While the amendment never materialized, at least on paper, Matura-Shepherd says it’s happening right now, and she can prove it.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney

“We’ve always said when we debated it then, and I say it now – preventative detention is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is not part of our constitution. But clearly what is happening although we never got to make those amendments to the constitution, it has been practiced for a while. And the reason I know is that I am one of those attorneys who come to the Police Station to deal with persons that have been brought in. I have had to come to the Police Station after the forty-eight hours for persons that they don’t want to release, especially I notice it happened around the holiday weekend. I remember during the Easter celebration how many people were just detained and the Police had no intention of charging them. So we have to go and review these situations because we have to be law-abiding. Remember, I am of the view that someone has to be committing these crimes. It cannot be that nobody is committing these crimes. So I am of the view that we have to investigate properly. We have to restore the confidence, because a lot of people in the community that are not involved in these crimes see these thing but they don’t help. They don’t help because of the way the Police treat them. They don’t help because sometimes when they want to help the treatment they get at the Police Station. I have had instances where the very person that could help the Police, when they come to offer help, are locked up because they are profiled a certain way. For example, I have two clients detained right now, and no matter how you tell the Police where they were and you could prove it, you could go to their employer…that’s not in their interest. So when you do that entire families turn against you.”


According to Matura-Shepherd, when there are detentions without proper investigation, it is the result of profiling which violates the rights of those targeted by Police.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Audrey Matura-Shepherd on Preventative Detention”

  1. Ali Babarrow's Belize says:

    What do you expect when criminals run GOB?

    Happy meals and chocolates?
    The whole country is a prison state, parts are max security per Ali’s whim.

  2. Rudolph Butler says:

    PLEASE DELETE THE IMMEDIATE PREVIOUS AND FIRST POSTING BY THIS SAME AUTHOR. IT HAS INACCURATE INFORMATION. THIS IS THE CORRECTED ONE: The Belize Constitution provides for due process of law. Generally, I stay away from countries that do not provide for due process. Mexico is a beautiful country with wonderful vacation spots, but I limit my visits to Mexico because there is no due process–you are presumed guilty when accused of a crime and it is your job to prove your innocence. It would be a disaster if Belize would adapt the Mexican position, and even worst it it would amend its constitution to accommodate preventative detention as the rule of the land. This would have serious repercussions on the county’s standing in the world community. Tourism, one of the principal drivers of the Belizean economy would be halted because who would want to visit a place where you could be arrested just because a police officer thinks you are likely to commit a crime! It is appalling, unthinkable and horrendous that the Belize Prime Minister would even entertain such measures as preventative detention. Preventative detention should never have even surfaced for consideration in a country where the constitution provides for due process. I don’t know what has gone wrong with our present government. Mrs, Matura-Shepherd, I salute your fearlessness in speaking out publicly on the ills of this present Belizean administration.

  3. Retired CEO says:

    Face the music, Mr. PM, you created this monster. In fact you have created a portfolio in the GOB called Minister of Gangs, headed by a buffoon. This Frankenstein of yours has wreaked havoc on the Belizean populace for many years. Unfortunately, it is now out of control and will bite your head off any time soon, if you do not do something to stop it. “For God sake stop it”, God will not stop it, you will have to find a way to destroy it or it will destroy you. Very sadly so, you are reaping what you have sowed.

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