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Jan 21, 2021

Police Minister says Witness Protection is Doable, but It Will Be Costly!

Some very promising news delivered by Minister Musa on Thursday was that the Witness Protection Programme is in the pipeline for Belize.  Last week, the U.S Embassy hosted the Government of Belize in a second high level roundtable to discuss the implementation of a witness protection and victim care programme. The discussions centered on the programme and the feasibility of implementation in country, as well as the existing legislation.  Minister Musa was one of the government’s representatives in that meeting.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“It is a very important discussion moving forward when we look at getting more convictions for violent offences in our country. As you know, one of the main sources of evidence in our justice system is eyewitness reports and we have seen that over the last twenty or so years where eyewitnesses have not wanted to volunteer or to continue with their statement after they have given it because they fear for their lives. So, it is a very real and present danger to our justice system, we have recognized that and that is why we are having these discussions to come up with ways to implement programmes; witness protection programmes so that we can get our eyewitnesses having that sort of confidence in giving their statements to police and following through on them. So, it is a huge step in the right direction to have this type of legislation and we are looking at all options at this time. Indeed it is going to be a very costly venture. We have to recognize that but at the same time we have to engage the public. We have to ensure that the common man and woman, the common Belizean out there that it would take buy in from them as well for these kinds of programmes to ensure that we build back the confidence in the judiciary.”


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