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Jun 7, 2022

Senior Superintendent of Police Daniel Arzu Runs Independent in Georgetown

Superintendent of Police Daniel Arzu is retiring from the Police Department and entering politics at the village council level. He remains in the force until he is officially pensioned off and, according to the Commissioner of Police that date is quickly approaching. Yet and still, Arzu has already been nominated as an independent candidate in the upcoming village council election for Georgetown, his home village. So, is Senior Superintendent Daniel Arzu in breach of the Public Service Regulations? News Five’s Paul Lopez takes a closer look.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Senior Superintendent Daniel Arzu’s candidacy in the village council election for Georgetown has come under scrutiny. Arzu is vying to become the next chairman of that community. But, as a career police officer, there is the question of whether or not Arzu can lawfully participate in the election as a candidate. Section 60 (1) of The Public Service Regulations clearly outlines what elections public officers are prohibited from actively participating in.


Henry Charles Usher

On the phone: Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“The Public Service Regulations deals with the established officers and it is very clear in section 60(1) of the regulations, it speaks about public officers not being able to participate in certain elections, mainly elections that fall under the Representation of the People’s Act, elections that fall under different Acts, the Town Councils Act, Belize City Council Act, and the Belmopan City Council Act. It does not specify Village Council Act. So, how that has been interpreted is that they can participate as candidates in a village council election.”


And so, in accordance with that section of the Public Service Regulations, public officers are not prohibited from taking part in village council elections. A subsequent section, however, does make a distinction pertaining to active participation in matters that are of a party political nature.


Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“However, under 60(2) it lists other regulations that governors public officers in relation to party politics. And it is very specific, especially 60(20) subsection (i). It says that Public Officers cannot participate or engage in party political matters. So there are two very clear regulations there. So to answer your question as to whether they can participate as a candidate in a village council election, yes they can because village councils are by their very nature, they should be neutral nuh. But whether they are going to be participating in Party political matters, that is strictly restricted under 60 (2).”


Arzu’s participation in the village council election for Georgetown is therefore permitted, according to Minister Henry Charles Usher’s interpretation of the regulations. That is because Arzu is running as an independent candidate.


Paul Lopez

“So if an establishment political officer wants to participate in any village council election, they would have to do so as an independent candidate?”


Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“Correct. They are not forbidden to do so as candidates because the general nature of the village council is that they are neutral. But when they start to engage in party political matters then that is forbidden on the Public Service Regulations, section 60 (2).”


And on Monday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told reporters that Senior Superintendent Arzu is proceeding with preretirement leave, and will be out of the police department by the time the village council election is held. Compol Williams also argued that Arzu is not aligned with any political party.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Mr. Arzu is proceeding on pre-retirement leave very shortly. For the most part, if he were to be elected the chairman of George Town, he would not be a police officer. He would be out by then. That is one. Two, he is not aligned with a political party. He is running as an independent in George Town, so there is a clear distinction there when it comes to both individuals. So, I can’t compare the two at all.”


Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.

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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