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Aug 18, 2021

Human Rights Commission on Recent Cases of Police Abuse

The Human Rights Commission of Belize has spoken out on what it calls constant police abuse of power. While it says it acknowledges the efforts of the leadership of the Belize Police Department in taking swift action against the most recent case, the Commission feels that police abuse is now a trend and that needs to stop.  Vice President of the Human Rights Commission, Cynthia Pitts weighs in on this matter.


Voice of: Cynthia Pitts, Vice President, Human Rights Commission of Belize

“The public has seen the various incidents – pepper spraying and the incident of a gentleman who was lying on the ground and Police were kicking him and abusing him. And there have been many more such incidents, and of course we are very concerned. Also, [we’re] at the point of knowing that expressing a concern is not really getting these incidents to stop and so the crucial point now is what can be done to really put a stop to it because we realize very well that putting out releases, that is not really doing anything. So there is need to do something more. I am remembering that I had heard the [Police] Commissioner in an interview say that he had submitted a Cabinet paper where he would like to have the authority to dismiss officers who violate these fundamental rights of persons, to dismiss them summarily. Now I don’t know what has happened since. I haven’t heard anything and we believe that the only way these incidents will be stopped is when the officers who are doing these offences and activities really feel something that affects. At the moment you hear that an investigation is being done but we don’t really know what happens. We don’t know if it’s just a slap on the wrist, but we believe that if something I done that really affects them personally or their livelihood, then they will pause before they do things like this and others will take note. So, if it is that we have to be in discussion with the Commissioner to find out what has happened to that Cabinet paper, then that is what we have to do and if that gets through, then what we would also like is to have an independent body. It won’t be policemen reviewing policemen – and independent body that would be reviewing these incidents.”

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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