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Aug 20, 2021

14 Officers Kicked out of the Belize Police Department

Fourteen Police officers have been dismissed from the Belize Police Department for violating the department’s code of ethics. The dismissals come after the Professional Standards Branch concluded internal tribunals and found them to be culpable for the offenses with which they were charged. Those offenses range from excessive absences to drug trafficking. But notably, none of the dismissals pertained to a recurring complaint that keeps surfacing in the public discourse –police abuse. A lot of the times, the claims are substantiated by videos of police officers in all-out attacks on civilians who are otherwise defenseless. So today, News Five engaged the head of the unit that investigates the officers, Senior Superintendent Calbert Flowers, on why none of the dismissals were for police abuse and brutality.


Calbert Flowers

Sr. Supt. Calbert Flowers, Head, Professional Standards Branch, Belize Police Department

“We have a number of these cases that have been investigated and that are being investigated, but most of these cases are being dealt with internally. And we have a majority of these cases that the complainant do not want to cooperate with us. For some reason or the other, we are very hesitant to come forward and to testify whenever the tribunal calls them or whenever they are summoned to court. Initially, these complainants come forward, give a statement and they request action but eventually they withdraw their complaint and that leave us in a position that there’s only so much we can do. We try to convict them internally, because without the complainant’s cooperation we do not have a case in the Magistrate’s Court or in the open court. So we have to try to convict them internally but we need the cooperation of the public.”


Marion Ali

“Why do you believe that is though? That you have so many complainants who just along the way, change their minds, so to speak, or come forth and say they don’t want any further action? Might it be that they are being coerced into abandoning the case?”


Sr. Supt. Calbert Flowers

“There are various reasons. It’s a lengthy process. We have to give these officers due process, just like a normal criminal who is arrested and charged. They have the right to a fair trial. They have their right to a defense attorney and some of these matter prolong, just like in a criminal case. And some of these complainants they get frustrated. Sometimes they just don’t want to carry on with it. Sometimes they are afraid and sometimes it is just taking up too much time. So there are various reasons.  A lot of these complaints we get conviction. Some of these officers go and plead guilty. It’s all up to the adjudicator to fine them. Some of them are not really major offences that warrant dismissal. So on a daily basis, a weekly basis we have convictions upon convictions for Police officers’ misconduct. However, some of them, like I said, do not warrant dismissal, but they are fined; they are charged. Monies come out of their salary.”


Flowers says the monies that are deducted from the Officers’ salary go toward the Police Reward Fund. 

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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