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Sep 6, 2019

A New Watchtower in Inaugurated at Belize Central Prison

Prison authorities are strengthening security at the central facility located on the Hattieville Road. The number of escapes or attempts to flee by brazen inmates has presented a challenge to the authorities to keep them behind bars. This morning, the Kolbe Foundation inaugurated a third tower which will assist them to monitor and keep control of those inmates serving time or others awaiting trial. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Belize Central Prison is home to over a thousand inmates who are incarcerated for crimes committed on the outside.  Those prisoners range in profile from hardened and dangerous to obedient and trustworthy.  Once inside, security is of utmost priority to the Kolbe Foundation whose mandate in operating the facility includes safeguarding the wellbeing of inmates at all costs.  That means securing the perimeter from all angles of this sprawling compound.  Recently, a third watchtower was erected at the far end of the prison grounds.


Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation

Virgilio Murill

“Secure prisons are essential to making the justice system an effective weapon against crime.  When prisoners, convicted or awaiting trial, are entrusted into your care, they must know and the public must know that they will remain there until they are legally discharged.”  A very powerful statement by Mr. Mandela.  As we reflect on that statement, this tower that we are about to inaugurate will definitely achieve all of what he spoke about.  This tower will serve as a deterrent for prisoners who would want to escape from justice.”


There have been instances where inmates have escaped from prison.  The guards on duty atop these towers are trained to incapacitate a fleeing prisoner.


Virgilio Murillo

“2019 for us has been very challenging as it relates to escapes and we do not plan to have this continue because we have been doing very well for almost a decade in regards to escapes.  So far this would have been our worst year.  We have a zero tolerance for escape and we know exactly why we don’t allow it, because it poses a serious danger to society.  It is costly and it is embarrassing for the prison, no doubt about it.  Last year July, even before we had any escapes, we started building these towers.  The tower that you see over this side, to my right, that was the industrial zone towers.  That was built last year and it came into commission in September of last year.  The other tower that you see behind me, that one was built late last year and we inaugurated it in January of this year and today we are at tower number three.”


On April thirtieth, a nineteen-year-old inmate was shot and killed as he attempted to escape from the facility.  Kevin Moore was on remand for aggravated assault and was housed in the Tango Six area of the prison when he scaled the perimeter fence.  Despite being shot in both legs, the mentally challenged prisoner succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter.  The incident, along with several other escapes, has prompted the administration to build additional towers.


Virgilio Murillo

“I must tell you though that we had some old towers as you look around the prison you will see that there are some old towers still standing and those were dilapidated, they were poorly built and they did not have all the amenities that these towers have.  These are more user-friendly and they are more habitable so the guards should be in a more better position to take a clean shot if and when the need arises.”


And with that the ribbon on the third tower was cut and special invited guests, including the ombudsman and the Director of the Family Court were given a tour of the facility.  The view from above encompasses a broad radius both in and outside the facility.


Isani Cayetano reporting for 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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