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Mar 18, 2020

Gang Members Keep Receiving Extensions for Unpaid Fines

Chester Williams

Equally challenging for the Belize Police Department, in its attempt to put away known gang members, is the fact that the lower courts continue to impose fines and grant subsequent extensions when they cannot meet their payment schedules.  This allows known criminals to remain on the streets to wreak havoc.  According to the Commissioner of Police, a special request will be made to the judiciary to revisit this policy since it is part of the problem that keeps gang members out of prison.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“I have a difficulty because the public believes that we the police don‘t want to put these people behind bars.  But let me say this and the judiciary will be upset with me but I have to let the public know, that we have charged a number of gang members.  They have gone to court and they have pled guilty, the court imposes a fine.  We have issue with the imposition of a fine but the court does have that discretion and we respect that, but after the time has lapsed for the fine to be paid the court still goes again and issues an extension to these gang members to pay the fine.  So when we believe that when the time to pay the fine is up and we can get them to prison on a commitment warrant, we can‘t get them to prison because they‘re continually getting extension and extension and then they remain on the streets and these are the same people who are creating problem for us.”


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