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May 6, 2019

Judicial Review Granted But Cpl. Eldon Arzu Must Report to Work in Belmopan

Eldon Arzu

The courtroom of Justice Shona Griffith was packed to capacity this morning.  Officers of all ranks were present for the commencement of a legal claim involving Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, who is being sued by the President of the Belize Police Association.  Corporal Eldon Arzu has been absent from duty since being transferred to Belmopan back in January and his salary has been frozen as a result.  Earlier today, attorney Stacey Grinage, who represents the beleaguered officer, sought three applications on his behalf, via arguments that were put before the court.  The claimants are seeking leave for judicial review of the validity of Corporal Arzu’s office as the duly elected president of the association.  They also sought injunctions in respect of Arzu’s transfer, as well as the suspension of his salary.  They were unsuccessful on two of the three applications. The ComPol explains.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“This morning in Justice Griffith’s court, the matter of Eldon Arzu and the Commissioner of Police convened for the judge to be able to decide whether or not there is grounds for judicial review and the counsel for the applicant had also filed applications for injunctions.  One: he sought an injunction against the commissioner from transferring him and two; he also sought a mandatory injunction for the court to order that the commissioner pays him his salary.  As you would know that his salary has been stopped due to the fact that he had failed to report for work.  The judge heard arguments from both sides and at the conclusion of that the judge made an order that there is an issue to be tried and so leave was granted for judicial review and that matter is expected to commence on July 22nd and 23rd of this year.  In respect to the applications filed by the applicant for the injunctions, the court rejected those applications and said to the applicant that the applicant must report for work.  She also pointed out to them that while the police department is a public service entity, the standard of service in the police department or the military is different than the ordinary public service and so once a lawful command is given, then officers or members are expected to comply with the lawful instructions.  And if it is their they believe that the instructions are not in their best interest then they can comply and then take the aggrieved matter before the court for the court to be able to determine whether or not there was reasonableness in the actions of, in this case, the commissioner.  And so the judge told him that he needs to report to work.  So we are anticipating that Mr. Arzu is going to report to duty tomorrow or maybe today, considering the fact that he has been absent for over a month.  Once he reports to duty then his salary will be activated.  As I had said before, as the Commissioner of Police I have a responsibility to ensure that the budgetary allocation for the police department which includes emoluments is spent in compliance with the Financial and Stores Order and we cannot be paying for services that cannot be rendered.”


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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