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Jan 29, 2021

Supreme Court Says B.P.D. Misapplied Regulations; Attorney Says Ruling Has Larger Implications!

Leslie Mendez

So, as you heard, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the female cops on the force who were being disciplined about their dreadlocks.  Attorney Leslie Mendez explained that while the decision found that the women’s rights were infringed, there was no decision made for the Police Department to amend that regulation on the books.  Mendez says that is because the court’s decision was that the specific piece of regulation being applied to the women with dreadlocks was being misapplied.  Mendez says that this is a big decision that Belizeans should laud, including the women who bravely challenged the department’s regulation, because similar challenges in other jurisdictions have failed to get a favourable outcome from the court.


Leslie Mendez, Attorney-at-law

“What the court did, is that the court did a declaration indicating that the directive is unconstitutional for these various reasons and she considered that it was sufficient to leave it as a declaration because the natural consequence of that is that the disciplinary proceedings wouldn’t be pursued. The decision itself doesn’t say that but I would far to say that the essence of the decision now certainly compels a revision of policies that might be affecting persons in this way. This specific regulation was not considered to be unconstitutional to the court because the court said it was a misinterpretation by the department itself to stretch that regulation to also apply to locks because regulation four didn’t explicitly provide for locks. So, the court found that the regulation as couched was fine but that it was misapplied.   I do think this is a case that we should be proud of. In other jurisdictions similar challenges have happened and they have not had this positive outcome. I can tell you that the claimant felt incredibly validated and happy with the outcome because coming up to the time of the decision and even before making the decision to file a claim, they were really getting some pushback. They were getting some support of course but there was always the fear that they would lose their jobs or even if they didn’t lose their jobs, they would be pushed to resign. So, I think we owe them great debt of gratitude for what the implications of the decision are not to only them but to us as a country and as a region.”

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