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Jul 22, 2020

Who Gave Order to Fire Into the Peaceful Protest?

As the chaos subsided after the shooting; the Attorney General who is also the Minister of National Security, sought to disown the use of force on the protesters by the Gang Suppression Unit.  AG Michael Peyrefitte says that the behaviour of the GSU is unwarranted.  Here is Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The extreme violence of action by the Belize Police Department that took place at the Port of Belize this afternoon was not sanctioned by the Ministry of National Security and someone will be held accountable for giving the Gang Suppression Unit permission to descend on the peaceful protestors.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“It’s not justified and there’s no reconciling of it.  It makes no sense that the government would apply for an injunction on behalf of the Labour Department that would clearly also benefit the stevedores then we go there the next day and rough up the stevedores.  The instructions to the Commissioner of Police from myself were clear, those people, as long as they are being peaceful, are allowed to remain on that compound ‘til at least two o’clock until we hear the ruling of the court.  My instructions to the commissioner were clear.  I am sure that his instructions to his commander was also clear because I was on a three-way phone call where I had myself, the commissioner and the commander for that division and the instructions were to remain there until at the very least the court had ruled.”


But someone among the responding GSU officers took it upon himself to read the Riot Act before proceeding to unleash a volley of shots into the gathering.


Evan “Mose” Hyde

Evan “Mose” Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“Everything is on video.  Everything is on video.  Imagine the brutality, imagine.  I want to know who gave the order because the Minister of Labour had just called me to say to the commissioner.  The commissioner spoke to me, but there was another order just now.”



“So who gave that one?”


Evan “Mose” Hyde

“I have no idea, but that’s what the question should be, who gave the order to make people weh di stand up fi dehn rights face dehn level a brutality.”


At sixty-thirty this morning, the police department was called out to the Port of Belize Limited where a pair of buses had been parked across the entrance and exit of the sprawling compound, obstructing vehicular traffic.


Wayne Lambey

Wayne Lambey, Staff Representative

“This morning there were two blockage at the main entrance of PBL and the staff had no part to play with that.  We don’t know how that happened.  We came to work and we met that.  Upon that happening we decided to do no employment any at all, so we decided we’re not going to work.  Today would be an official day of strike.”


Heavy police presence on the compound foreshadowed what was to come by midday.


Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

“They declared that we were being riotous and then said, “You have two minutes.”  And then just unleashed, in Belize, working people, not criminal people, not people with any kind of weapon, not people with any kind of stick, just having the courage to stand up.”


That insubordination resulted in Trevor Jones, a stevedore who was part of the peaceful protest, being seriously injured.  Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte says that the kind of behaviour displayed by the GSU today will not be tolerated within the police department.


Michael Peyrefitte

“Somebody, some police officer or police officers decided upon themselves, obviously, to ignore those instructions and that is why currently we have told the head of the union go to the police station, make a report, those police officers will be charged after they are arrested, because they ignored a direct order and some direct instructions from the commissioner and their commander.  An investigation will be done and somebody will be made to pay, at least one person will be made to pay when it comes to that incident because the instructions were absolutely clear, leave those people on that compound until the court has ruled.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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