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Jun 17, 2022

Traffic Officers with Powers of Arrest Sworn in for Belmopan

The expanding capital city, Belmopan now has thirty-four new Special Constables who, over the past ten days, underwent a training course on traffic laws, and upon their successful completion of the training, are empowered to make arrests on traffic violations. The officers received their certificates this afternoon and News Five’s Marion Ali was present at the ceremony and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The oath of allegiance recited by a combination of the Belmopan City Council’s traffic authorities and the Department of Transport marked the completion of their two weeks of training in traffic laws and traffic violations, and the start of their new roles as Special Constables with the power of arrest.


The two weeks of training covered traffic laws, methods of arrest for traffic offences, people’s constitutional rights, and the issuance of summonses, court procedures, and case file compilation. Director of Training, Sr. Supt. Lester Wade, urged the special constables to be upstanding and dignified officers on the job, rather than abusive of the power they now possess.


Sr. Supt. Lester Wade, Director of Training

Sr. Supt. Lester Wade

“They say if you want to see a person’s true character, give him power. You’ll be sworn in as Special Constables, which gives you the powers of arrest. That is huge power – to take away people’s freedom. It’s a privilege for you to get powers of arrest. As you go out there and you execute the traffic laws, and where you will have to make an arrest, ensure that it is done in accordance with the law.”


Minister of Transport, Rodwell Ferguson, went a step further to advise the special constables to use discretion where it is necessary.


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport

“Your approach makes a big difference. When you approach a citizen, it must be with respect and then the respect will be returned on to you. Sometimes you might find an offence, somebody’s driving and their license is maybe up on Friday and they caught the person on Saturday, and you will say okay, I will issue a ticket. We nuh di ask they broke the law, but sometimes your discretion must be used. Maybe that person is taking a sick child to the hospital.”


David Castillo is the Assistant Operations Officer at the Department of Transport. But even in that capacity, he did not have the power of arrest when he encountered drivers openly breaking the traffic laws – that is until today.


David Castillo, Assistant Operations Officer, Department of Transport

David Castillo

“Expired motor vehicle insurance is an arrestable offense. Without having that power to arrest – that Special Constable authority, then our officers cannot arrest the offender. We would have to depend on the police to come and do the arrest, and the entire procedure, taking them to be prosecuted. But now by our traffic wardens being empowered as special constables, they now have that authority to arrest.”


Mayor Sheran Palacio said that Belmopan’s fast expansion calls for as many special constables as possible, so this cohort of newly trained traffic personnel will help to ease the traffic overload during peak hours.


Sheran Palacio

Sheran Palacio, Mayor, Belmopan

“It is our dream every day to have an orderly city. I am sure some of you at times will see the rush hour for us is really a rush hour. The amount of traffic officers that we would need, we do not have the budget to sustain our needs.”


Marion Ali reporting for News Five.

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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