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Jun 19, 2020

BDF says there is no rape culture; but will further investigation be conducted among other units to determine this?

Now this plan, comes on the heels of a number of allegations in the training school and more recently following an allegation of rape for which Sergeant Margarito Pop was criminally charged. But Pop, from what we are told, still hasn’t been placed on interdiction. The B.D.F. says that final sign off comes from the Security Services Commission which has been forwarded all the required documents. So, at this time Pop is on leave from work. Turning back to today’s event, the General of the B.D.F. pointed out that there is no rape culture in his organization. According to Ortega, there have been one or two isolated cases. But that is not according to the number of allegations we have heard from former and current members of the Force. And as we, one of the recommendations of the independent investigative team is for an investigation to truly ascertain the scope and gravity of sexual violence within the B.D.F. Today, we asked the BDF if will be done.


Brigadier General Stephen Ortega, Commander, BDF

Brigadier General Stephen Ortega

“To continue to have to say that there is this culture of sexual assault and allegations, I don’t believe it is a culture. It may be one off or two off incident that we try and address immediately because that is not something that we want to perpetrate here in the force.”


Andrea Polanco

“And as it relates to an investigation to verify or determine if there are other cases of a sexual nature in the B.D.F, is that something that is going to take place?”


Major Lionel Olivera

Major Lionel Olivera, Legal Officer, BDF

“Well. It will be somewhat impossible for the B.D.F to say that we are going to do an investigation into anyone who would have had some allegation of a sexual harassment. That would have to be ideally coming from those who were the victims. And once that would have arisen we would have the mechanism in place to deal with it. Thus, the purpose of the sexual harassment policy but we can’t go individually were you sexually harassed or something to that effect but it has to be that individual who brings it to someone’s attention or in the case of the policy we have those persons who could become complicit. So, if it is, for instance you are working within a unit and you have been observing certain behaviors, you have a duty to do certain reports. And that is essentially what the policy indicates and the mechanism how we move forward from this point forward.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, I know that you can’t go one by one to ask a person were you sexually assaulted. But the report deemed it necessary for some kind of inquiry to be done – and I am not sure what kinds of limitations you would have internally to do that – but I am just asking isn’t it in the best interest of the BDF to make an inquiry based on what this “independent investigation” has suggested?”


Major Lionel Oliver

“Well, maybe what we can do is to find a mechanism to actually attract the data. So, whether it is by survey or we going individually to these camps like when we go individually to these camps when we do these presentations to highlight some of these issues to try to get that information out; that may be a possible course of action. And that is something that we are willing to do and a venture that we are going to undertake eventually because it was already in the pipeline to have done anyway.”

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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