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May 17, 2011

G.S.U. supports preventative detention bill

Marco Vidal

Everyone agrees that something has to be done to rein in crime, but there is mixed reaction on sweeping constitutional amendments proposed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in the House last Friday. The preventative detention bill has been especially controversial because some believe that giving the cops authority to detain persons for up to twenty-one days will lead to abuse of power.  But the G.S.U.’s Assistant Superintendent Marco Vidal is defending this amendment saying there are measures to keep the cops in line and to protect the rights of civilians.

ASP Marco Vidal, Head of Gang Suppression Unit

“I think there is a lot of misrepresentation of how it will actually work. It’s not that the police will arbitrarily pick up someone and decide that this person is going to be locked up for twenty-one days. It’s not going to happen that way. There has to be justification and the person has to be brought before—from my understanding—they have to be brought before a court and show just cause why this person should in fact be detained for that period of time. So I don’t think there should be a fear from the public because there are certain mechanisms in place to ensure that there is no abuse of authority in that regard. But I think that a lot of the legislation, in particular the crime control and criminal justice amendment bill will in fact, with some modifications of course, will assist us in dealing with the gang problem because we need that legislative component for us to function far more effectively than we are currently operating since we’re going after the drugs and firearm. But understandably, we’re going after the drugs and firearm because the penalties for those are far higher than the current legislation provides for some of the offences that gang elements commit.

Far too long these persons think that they can just eliminate witnesses and get off murders. So there has to be some approach that will deal with these cases. It is not only Belize; what we are seeing now is what other countries that have this problem that are much bigger have dealt with already. So it is not any kind of draconian legislation as such. Other countries have already introduced those legislations because of the problems that they experience. And we have to look at those countries and how they deal with those problems so that we can learn from them and start adopting the changes in Belize.”

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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17 Responses for “G.S.U. supports preventative detention bill”

  1. Justice says:

    You go Vidal-more of Belize is behind you than you think or than may scream in media-we are quiet majority support.

  2. Lucas says:

    The problem is that Mr. Vidal is the last person who can guarantee me that this mechanisms will be adhered to. As a matter of fact, we all and himself in particular knows that he cannot speak against his boss, or else, next day he would be out of a job. He knows that he would not question a command from Belmopan. He knows that police agents have abused the system e.g. by planting evidence, or shielding behind the law for personal vengeance. Yes , other countries like England may have such laws but Belize is no England. England is a Democracy where no one is above the law while Belize is corrupted and we are not all the same before the law. These laws have once existed in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and we know the consequences if not, ask the refugees from those countries living in Belize. I do not argue the spirit of the law but the intentions of the proponents of such laws.

  3. crime free belize says:

    “Draconian law” or “Communism”,call it what you will.Every belizean citizen should have basic constitutional rights,is this just another attempt or excuse to aid in the incompetence of or law enforcement?Maybe a guantanamo bay style experiment,or a guilty by association law?Any such law is a recipe for abuse,let’s not waste our tax payer’s money,if law enforcement does’nt have the necessary evidence for a” lawful” prosecution,they can always re-arrest suspects when the necessary evidence becomes available.Government can also try making special legislation for organized crime,such as gangs,and other type’s of criminals that falls under that umbrella,thus protecting the constitutional rights of our regular citizens.

  4. Earl Grey says:


  5. EMS says:

    I am not sure what kind of bubble this individual is living in perhaps, he must be insensitive to the cold realities in the jewel or in denial big time. Clearly, the police and politicians will abuse these powers of preventive intervention on the basis of political affiliation, work and socio-economic status. They are currently abusing some faceless, nameless individuals now without the suspension of certain constitutional rights, imagine the possibilities when such laws are enacted. What needs to be done is proper enforcement of current laws coupled with appropriate training and non-interference from politicians, when it comes to the judiciary and laws of the land.

  6. islander says:

    Only because A BIGGER COUNTRY did something does not mean it is not draconian Mr. Vidal. Of course these are draconian measures, i personally believe that it will only make matters worst because it will imprison innocent people. LOOK AT THE CURRENT GUN LAW AND HOW MANY STUDENTS, AND WORKING MOTHERS HAVE BEEN IMPRISONED INNOCENTLY?

    When I go to Belize city and hire a taxi driver for the day, it always scares the hell out of me to think that maybe this taxi man might or might not have a bullet laying around his car and bam we both end in jail cause of the draconian firearm law. At home cops can search every corner of my house and I am not to worry because I am law abiding but it is that instance when I hire a taxi driver and I am in another man’s car that it scares the hell out of me.

    Back to Mr. vidal’s big countries have done this and that, Germany is a big country, it decided to dissarm jews, waive their right to own guns, used preventative detention to put them into concentration camps, and then exterminated them like they were sub human. Now Mr. Vidal is this not draconian only because a BIG country did it?

    Modern times, the US uses torture in Guantanamo bay, is this not draconian because a big country did it Mr. Vidal? You need to start thinking before talking, you seem like an intelligent well spoken man but on this one you screwed up pretty bad.

  7. Ocaso says:

    Curtailing the public’s civil liberties will do nothing more that eventually turn us all into prisoners in our own homes. STOP THE REACTIONARY APPROACH TO CRIME! Crime will only seriously begin to decrease when social inequality is addressed and wealth and income are more fairly distributed. Take a look at what consistent studies have shown at

  8. Ricky Malthus says:

    ASP Marco Vidal , Dean Barrow, minister Singh, and all the idiots trying to impose this nonsensical amendment to the Constitution ,better get their heads screwed on right. Barrow knows that the Law of evidence requires the Police to prove that an alleged crime suspect be charged for an alleged crime before he/she is incarcerated , no matter how notorious he/she might be. Iforgive Vidal because he cannot see how illogical preventitive detention vis-a- vis evidence. As to minister Singh, let’s hope when he is not in office,this law ,if passed, will used to jail him to protect the citizenry from his bad behaviour. Barrow knows this law was used by South Africa to stifle black opposition to Apartheid; used by Hitler’s Gestapo to send Jews to their deaths in concentration camps and used by his beloved British(imagine a black like him being an Anglophile), to keep his people oppressed for centuries. Way to go Barrow. Show us stupid you are. We may also use this law against you , Sherlock.

  9. Benqueno says:

    I wonder sometimes if any of the above commentators has ever lost a love one to gun violence???? and the Police never solved their lost????…i hope it happens and they start thinking Intelligent like Mr. Vidal…what i believe is that some of you guys are gang affiliated and your livelihood maybe coming from the proceeds of illegal activities…..that’s why you are all scared now that Mr. Vidal and his team will come knocking at your doors….

    An advice, for your own sake….tell your son, husband, uncle, sister, lover, neighbor and joe grine to take those guns, ammunition, weed (ganja) the stolen TV that you see yourself on out of your house, your hidden back yard or else you will be put up for 21 days….and 2 years more if you are found guilty….THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE 10 YEARS AGO….

  10. Lucas says:

    Hi Benqueno.
    I am a Belizean by birth but with Guatemalan ancestry on my father side. My great ancestors suffered under similar laws in the time of Ubico and Castillo Armas. When Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown, my grand father perished in that witch-hunt. Thanks to the Almighty, my father made it across what was then known as the Colony of British Honduras. In the seventies, Two first cousins were arrested under such laws and up to now, we have no idea where their bones lay. Yes, my family have lost a few of it’s members under such laws.

  11. CEO says:

    This is a very ignorant move and should not be suported! By the way, how does a criminal look? Some may suggest criminals wear Kaki shirts and blue pants with green stripe down the side.

    Ok here are a few points we can all agree on: We all agree that this crime business in Belize is way out of hand! Many have lost loveones to violence, and something has to be done.

    Let’s find the weak link in the criminal justice system chain, I have one question: Are we getting convictions when cases are tried? Answer: NO! Until this changes we can lock up every citizen of Belize and no sooner they are let out they will commit crimes again. Think!

  12. HANZ says:

    This ASP Vidal is well spoken. Most officers are not as comfortable with the English language is Vidal was during the interview. He also seems like he knows the job he is doing big up

  13. BlackWidow says:

    This is all we Law-Abiding Citizen need at this time A new law to give the Police MORE PERMISSION to continue harassing us and our children. You go BARROW

  14. Roots says:

    So Lucas-you can now go back home also before it happens to you here-we roots belizean want it and those of us who have nothing to hide-wont care if they search our house or even pick us up if we are truly innocent-I am tired of living in fear everythime I go buy chieny

  15. JR says:

    Mr Vidal, the bosses of the drug lords are in your police force. The big guns that knows how to cover there tracks. If your not one of them, watch your back. FYI, remember the drug bust on the stann creek road and the airport issue. Who you think is behind this. Why do you think nobody ever get convicted. Corruption. Mr Vidal how it suppose to work and how it will work is a complete different story. When will my people start putting there foot down and let our voices be heard. Lets kick some @$$. Dean have to go.

  16. crime free belize says:

    @ Benqueno with people like you,who needs democracy,sounds like you are bitter with the entire belizean society.

  17. islander says:

    Those who do not study history are bound to repeat it.. some of you need to study the history of PREVENTATIVE DETENTION, in African countries, Germany, Guatemala and the USA “Guantanamo”.

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