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Apr 21, 2005

Police make arrests, sustain injuries

Story PictureThe men and women on the front line of this crisis, the members of the Belize Police Department, are tonight recovering from hits sustained during the clashes with demonstrators. According to officials, ten officers were wounded, several with serious injuries including a fractured skull, broken limbs, cuts, bruises, and blows to the head. This morning Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby told the press corps that in his appraisal, the cops on the street did the best they could under the circumstances.

Gerald Westby, Police Commissioner
?We had a plan and we had security force. As you can see we cleared Albert Street pretty quickly. But you have to understand that we had the forces and we were able to maintain. The B.D.F. were brought in to Albert Street quickly and the situation was brought under control quite quickly.?

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7
?Looting Hofius Hardware; we have on tape, half an hour the goons ruled the streets.?

Gerald Westby
?Yeah but we responded as quickly as possible, got the security forces in there, the additional. We had police on Albert Street and we brought in additional support and that is what we did and we were able to effectively clear the area. ?

Jules Vasquez
?But could you not done that pre-emptively? We knew they were coming, they were not travelling by jet plane.?

Gerald Westby
?But yeah we had the security force, we had police out there, we had other areas that we were looking at and the security forces were brought in… Well we responded, the police out there, you have to blame the looters too who went on Albert Street. We acted and we brought in the police as quick as possible to the area and effectively addressing, brought the looters under control quite quickly.?

Janelle Chanona
?What is the department?s position on Crispin Jeffries in all of this? A lot of people are calling the car incident on the Belcan Bridge as one of the catalysts that really started to get things violent.?

Gerald Westby
?I think Mr. Jeffries must be commended. He did a tremendously good job. He acted with great restraint. He went on the media to ask the people to ask their parents, and he was out there on the ground and we were discussing, and I supported Mr. Jeffries and gave them directives. We were acting with great restraint seeing that they were students. But you must understand that there were hooligans and criminals who were hell bent on exploiting the situation, and people who incite violence must be held accountable.?

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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