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May 14, 2021

San Pedro Resident Harassed, Detained for Not Wearing Mask

Kareem Musa

Belize is once more getting negative publicity about our mask policing, this time on San Pedro. On Thursday, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa was called about an incident involving the brother of Joyjah Estrada, a Belizean model and social media influencer living in the U.S.  She said her brother was assaulted and detained by police in the island town for not wearing a mask. In addition, during the incident, the officer allegedly pulled his service weapon and threatened the young man before taking him into custody. The incident came as surprise to Minister Musa and he did not condone the officer’s actions.


Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“The allegation against a particular police officer in San Pedro is that he raised his firearm to Ms. Estrada’s brother. And in addition to that pushed him in his head and thereafter detained him. Duane, I think you were one of them who asked me the question at the time when we were converting these offenses to a ticket able offense as opposed to one where you were detained. This is exactly the reason why we did that. You should not be pulling your firearm at somebody simply for not wearing their mask properly. Worse, pushing them in their head. Worse detaining them. That is the whole purpose of making it a ticket able offense! When I learnt of that last night while speaking to Ms Estrada, I had to intervene because there was no reason to have him detained at the police station. I spoke to the officer in charge, and he was shortly thereafter released. It is truly a regrettable instance and one that I have advised Ms Estrada and her brother to take seriously. Because we do not want this to happen again. That should not be happening man in any part of Belize. Not just San Pedro because it is a tourist destination. Yes you have to be a bit more sensitive to the fact that you are trying to convince people to visit Belize. But we should treat all Belizean all tourist alike, especially not for a ticket able offense like face mask wearing. That is not to be tolerated.”

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