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Sep 11, 2015

Coast Guard Was Surprised At Detention of Officers

Three fishermen from Belize City – Giovanni Murillo, Donovan Usher and Jerome Bowen – left to go on a one day fishing trip to Turneffe two weeks ago and never came home. They are presumed dead by their families, who have made serious claims of Coast Guard involvement in the demise of the three men. Police are investigating the disappearance, and in the course of that investigation picked up five Coast Guard officers for questioning late last week. Today Commander Elton Bennett explained that he was surprised by the detention of his officers.


Commander Elton Bennett, Belize National Coast Guard

“Sometime last week the Police informed us that they would like to question the Coast Guard and do an investigation as relates to the three missing men out at sea. As far as we were concerned we were involved with a search and rescue case. The Police came over and the information was passed over to them and as a result the Police asked for five Coast Guard men. We made them available and went over to the Police to assist in the investigation. During that process I understand they were detained during the questioning. All five men were released. We are here to support the Police investigation and to support whatever system is in place to assure that there is transparency. The Coast Guard has held its reputation over time, and we want to keep it that way. If there are members of the Coast Guard that are involved in any illicit or rogue activity then we will not hide. We will ensure that justice takes its course.”



“Could you speak to us as to why those particular five officers were detained by Police?”


Elton Bennett

Commander Elton Bennett

“As you are aware we have a Forward Operating Base out at Calabash Caye. Turneffe is an area that we patrol very often. Those five men were on patrol in the Turneffe area during the period of time when the three men were reported missing.”



“Could you tell us about the connection that is being made between the Coast Guard and those fishermen?”


Commander Elton Bennett

“We’ve had run-ins in the past. We had a case where we arrested one of those individuals that fired at the Coast Guard sometime in March last year. The Coast Guard was professional. We did not return fire. We managed to detain the persons and hand them over for prosecution. Then a few months ago we came up to a fishing camp where again those three men were. One of those men was involved in the previous situation where they fired at the Coast Guard. We found a firearm at the camp, and again the three men were handed over to the Police for prosecution. So we’ve always been professional in our stance as it relates to dealing with those individuals. I don’t see why the Coast Guard would be targeting them to that level. Yes they are on our watch list. From time to time we run up on them for different illegal activities. But we’ve always handled them professionally and we don’t see the need to take it to that level. So this was a bit of a shock to us that the Police saw the need to detain those five men for questioning.”

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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2 Responses for “Coast Guard Was Surprised At Detention of Officers”

  1. Rob says:

    Give up the bodies….Guilty Coast Guards!! No bodies no case…but God sits high and look low as the graves you and your men dug Mr.bennett

  2. sheridan bowen says:

    i am Jerome daughter an i the stand up fi the rights a my pa deh never need to kill him becuse my pa dah mi wah good fisher man and every body no that i the yah the struggle fi see my pa i hope deh coast guards. find my pa cause i wah be somthing else wen i come from weh i….

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