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Mar 18, 2019

Queen Street Police Detention Centre Renovated

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and the police department came under fire in January when pictures surfaced on social media of the horrible and filthy state of the detention centre. Those pictures were taken and shared by Corporal Darrel Usher who spent some hours in the holding cell after being accused of assault. Well today, the Commissioner unveiled the much-needed renovations to the centre in Belize City which were undertaken at a cost of sixty thousand dollars. The media got a firsthand look at the new detention centre. Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Earlier in the year, pictures taken of the nauseating conditions of the Queen Street Police detention centre made its rounds on social media.  The pictures showed the grotesque and unsanitary conditions of the holding cell.  The photographs were taken by Corporal Darrel Usher who spent some time in the holding cell.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

Chester Williams

“When we looked at persons who are detained at the police station, these persons for the most part are only being accused of committing a crime. It is always said that a man does not shed his humanity, dignity once he crosses the threshold of our detention cell. He or she remains a human being and the only thing that that persons should be deprived off is the freedom of movement for the time that he or she is detained. Other than that, it is still expected that we must ensure that persons who are detained in our custody are treated with some degree with respect and to ensure that their human dignity is intact.”


With that in mind, the process to refurbish the detention centre was expedited as a result of public condemnation.


Chester Williams

“And so when we look at the renovations of the cell block, you will see many new features that were not there before. You will see bunkers. You will see extraction fans. You will see that the floor no longer have tiles but rather have some materials, some approved material that would prevent water or urine from seeping onto the concrete and developing that stench. You will see some very expensive sewage and I will tell you that those sewage come at a very, very expensive cost; two thousand six hundred dollars for one. We have already installed three and we have four more in order that we are waiting for. But we do believe that we can renovate the cell block now with what we have.”


The renovations come at a cost of sixty thousand dollars. CEO in the Ministry of National Security retired colonel George Lovell was present at the inaugural ceremony this afternoon.


Ret. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

Ret. Col. George Lovell

“It is not just human dignity and respect, but it is their human rights. It is their human right. It is for a long time that not just the Queen Street cell block has been in a deplorable standards but cell blocks across this entire length and breath of our country sad to say.”


Vice President of the Human Rights Commission, Attorney Kevin Arthurs, says that the decision to rehabilitate the detention centre is commendable.


Kevin Arthurs

Kevin Arthurs, V.P., Human Rights Commission, Belize

“A prisoner loses his freedom and not his dignity when he is detained. And when someone is sentence, he is to be sentence and not to be tortured. I am happy that we made this step because surely whatever new name that the facility has, it is surely better than the ‘piss house’.”


Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

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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