Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Minister asked for Cop to be transferred before incident with tourist
Dec 5, 2012

Minister asked for Cop to be transferred before incident with tourist

Manuel Heredia

On Tuesday News Five reported on the strange case of a police corporal being transferred following the arrest of a vacationing tourist in San Pedro. Syracuse resident Liza Marie Mertz apparently interrupted and yelled obscenities at Police Corporal Sharmane Young whilst Young was searching a man who was allegedly selling drugs. A question lingered on whether or not there was interference by Area Rep and minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia. Well, News Five spoke to the Minister today and he made it clear that he intervened and asked Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon to see that Mertz was charged and offered bail without spending days locked up. Heredia also said that prior to the incident he had asked for Young to be transferred to a post on the mainland.


Jose Sanchez

“What was your involvement in the release or detention of the two tourists on San Pedro?


Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism

Sharmane Young

“Let me start first by saying that my job as a minister is to deal with all issues related to tourism right—be it good or bad, I will be around—because I am being paid to do a job in the tourism industry. And this one had to do with a tourist that has been coming to this island for fifteen years bringing groups of scuba divers to Amigos del Mar. I was called by an employee of Amigos del Mar to tell me that this person was locked up and was in police custody and that they wouldn’t released her until so much days. So I went immediately to the station and the Officer that was in Charge said that Corporal Young was not in office and would not return until probably later in the night or probably the next day because she was out at FIDO’s doing security job. The day that this incident happened, she was working as a police officer. She was working as a security officer; even though you are a police officer twenty-four hours. But nonetheless, I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to Corporal Young, but I managed to speak with the Officer in Charge of San Pedro Command, Miss Robinson and I asked Miss Robinson about the situation with this tourist. Miss Robinson said I heard from Corporal Young that the tourist was not behaving in a polite manner and that she was little over the alcohol. And I said can I have the opportunity to speak to the tourist. The lady responded, I accept that I was a little upstart last night but because Corporal Young was using excessive force with me. She wanted to take me and I have surgery on both arms and my hands cannot bend behind. And she did show me. And the reason why I started to use was because I couldn’t stand the pain that was in my arms. Nonetheless I said what I will try to do is speak to Miss Robinson and ask her if she can grant bail, but Miss Robinson was very open to say, Minister I will not wake up my officer to come grant bail to this tourist.”


Jose Sanchez

“It is alleged that as a result of your intervention, this officer was transferred from the island.”


Liza Marie Mertz

Manuel Heredia

“And I will no apologies; that indeed for a few months before that, I had asked Mr. Aragon and I think the Commissioner, if they can transfer this officer elsewhere because she was not performing in the best possible manner that she is supposed to. When she arrived on the island, she was the best of the best I believe that we had had as a person in charge of the Tourism Police, but after that, I personally saw that was not performing to the best. And I won’t go in details as to say what has been happening, but I had asked for her to be transferred. And rightly they said that we would have to find somebody to substitute for her and otherwise, probably if they had done what I was asking—not really demanding—in the best interest of the tourism industry, this wouldn’t have occurred right.”


Heredia says that whenever he is asked to inquire about tourists or residents on the island who are locked up, it is not unusual for him to visit the police station. Mertz was granted police bail and appeared before the San Pedro Magistrate Court on November twenty-seventh. She pleaded guilty to four charges, and not guilty to the charge of assaulting a uniformed police officer. Three days later, she was found guilty of assaulting a uniformed police officer and fined a total of one thousand three hundred three hundred and fifty dollars for all charges. 

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.

Advertise Here

43 Responses for “Minister asked for Cop to be transferred before incident with tourist”

  1. Storm says:

    It still sounds . . . irregular. Ministers should not be acting as “lawyers” for anyone dealing with the police and courts.

    That said, other posters here who are familiar with the officer feel she has a “heavy badge,” and that generally leads to difficulties with people. Maybe she needs retraining or new surroundings.

  2. Paco Smith says:

    Listen to the guy’s rationale and ask yourself, why Belize (on a whole) is in such a mess.

  3. nigel says:

    Come on Heredia we are not as dumb as you look!!! Who thought you your oratory skills? George Bush Jr.? Because it seemed frightfully reminiscent of him as your logic was all over the place. You can’t even fool my daughter and she is only 8 months old. Just as you can’t even speak proper or coherent English and get your facts straight (i.e. Mayor Young of Belmopan) you cannot lie for you are just not intelligent enough to lie. Then again it is not in your nature to be intelligent, it is almost a scientific fact that most if not all people of the racist persuasion aren’t. If you were capable of being both you would be a freak of nature, Rod is living proof that racism and stupidity goes hand in hand. To have the commissioner of police carry out your totalitarian command like an obedient dog (no insult to dogs intended) also speaks volumes about his intellectual capacity or lack thereof and shows he is in no way capable of free thought, he is therefore just a mindless drone. This fact alone shakes me to the core as it speaks volumes as to the capabilities of the person that has been placed in charge of keeping the public safe; hell we may as well pay the criminals not to rob, rape and kill us. This is a dark day for all taxpaying Belizeans and for the few good police officers left in what has now become a festering pustule on the face of a derelict justice system that we call the Belize police force. But I must not be too hard on this poor dumb soul for he is by and large just like any other public official that is in high standing in the service of Belize and the Belizean people for they all know it’s either the minister’s way or the highway. I would like to think however that there maybe a few public servants left out there that still have their moral compass in working order and they are moral if not for the love of country and their fellow Belizeans at least for the sake of their own dignity. But alas they maybe too few and far between to make a difference and I fear that we are at the mercy of our dictators. So “Mr. Minister” please don’t pi$$ on my head and tell me its rain for I am not as stupid as you look.

  4. Louisville,Ky says:

    Why is it that the Elected area Representative and Minister of Tourism himself, found it necessary to intervene on a simple, cut and dried matter as an arrest carried out on a drunk and disorderly tourist? WHY?
    George Price might be dead and gone but, his words did not fall to the ground when he said that he had reservations about making tourism his number one priority as it would make his people, “a nation of beggars and second class citizens.”
    Junior’s actions make Mr. Price look like a Prophet and a genius.

  5. Daytona Beach, Fla. says:

    Manuel Heredia should come to Daytona Beach Shores and throw a tantrum like Liza Mertz did in Belize and see if any government official would intervene on his behalf. He would most likely get 50,000 volts up his upstart behind and then get locked up.

  6. Retired CEO says:

    Belizean should rally arround this issue and call for the removal of minister herdia, thus calling for a Bi-Election to replace him. His behavior is despecable. Perhaps this is an example of the corruption that John McAfee is talking to the international media about. The job of a minister is not to interfere/intervene in police work and legal system. This is an insult to the integrity of the GOB. This unnscrupolus minister must be removed from office. Wake up Belizeans, save our beloved country from this unslaught of corruption and injustice. Additionally, we need to get the facts about the commisioner of police behavior and involvement in this matter.

  7. Elgin Martinez says:

    Mertz coming to the island for the past fifteen years is not a justification to break the laws of our country.Why is it that Ministers of Government in Belize always think they can do everyone’s job?The we wonder why Mcafee is on the run?

  8. Mr Word says:

    I are so much greater issues affecting this country which needs to be addressed. Minister Heredia was out of line and needs to be placed in check. Why have we not heard anything from the Prime Minister???

  9. Irieas says:

    “Heredia says that whenever he is asked to inquire about tourists or residents on the island who are locked up, it is not unusual for him to visit the police station.”

    Clear proof of ministerial interference in law enforcement. Ask if anywhere else a CABINET member can interfere in a police matter like that, and I will show you its corresponding corruption index.

  10. Clare says:

    I am a UDP but Minister Herdia has appalled me with his arrogance and stupidity. I am a local that has spent the last 10 years visiting San Pedro for Easter Break.. But no more will i spend my money where, just because i am a black belizean i am a second class citizen. Belize for Belizeans.

  11. Truth says:

    The fact that the officer was not performing and asks to be transferred else where …. How is that the solution the to existing problem that plagues our country. For crying out loud not even the mister is competent to deal with this issue since the lack of knowledge and respect is what hinders our support body of this country.

  12. P.U.P. says:

    the thing is i wouldnt dought it was the police fault they have no P.R. skills, simple as that, evryone is inocent until proven guilty if u see someone shot sombady else doest mean he is guilty think about it. i can think a bout a handfull a senarious proving this…

  13. P.U.P. says:

    the thing is i wouldnt dought it was the police fault they have no P.R. skills, simple as that, evryone is inocent until proven guilty if u see someone shot sombady else doest mean he is guilty think about it. i can think a bout a handfull a senarious proving this…

  14. halla-pow, cruffy from philly says:

    I know Ms Young, but I must say….Belize has become very embarassing to me! This lady is a tourist…she didn’t have to go to Belize on vacation! Even if she was wrong….why couldn’t you guys give her bail immediately? I mean…haven’t you guys heard of customer service? These are the people that are bringing money into Belize and guess what…. she is not coming back…..not to mention the bad review that she is going to give to her friends and her friends are going to give to their friends. See where I’m going with this? Its spreads like a wild fire. I’m so afraid to recommend Belize to my friends and I was born and rised there. Please my fellow Belizeans get it together…and I apologise on the behalf of all Belizean Americans in the USA!

  15. alley cat says:

    This guy definitely lacks finesse and saying he is rough on the edges is an under statement BUT if what he is saying is true and it means there is a financial impact if we loose her business then I understand why he got involved.

    Airplane Ticket to San Pedro
    Hotel Stay
    Scuba Tour
    Drinking & Eating at Restaurants
    Golf Cart Rental

    All this adds up and impacts on the local economy out there.

    This type of stuff happens all over the world, waive a ticket because it’s a fellow police officer that was speeding, drop disorderly conduct charges because it is some one important etc… As long as we are talking about petty crimes, disorderly conduct, public intoxication etc… Then I do believe that some leeway should be given in the bigger scheme of things.


  16. miss speller says:

    it the piloce fault day have no P.r.

  17. Kendra Noralez-Riddick says:

    Amazing how the minister of tourism is willing to intervene on behalf of these often disorderly and disrespectful people, yet remains totally uninvolved in incidents involving harassment of his own law-abiding citizens. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that we have to ensure that tourists are treated fairly in our country. Failure to do that may have negative international repercussions; however, has money become the factor that determines fairness and equality in treatment? @Louisville, Ky loving the reference you made to honorable George Price. I guess he foresaw what many today, even with clear supporting evidence, are unable or unwilling to see.

  18. Peini says:

    Anywhere in the world law enforcement is highly respected especially when in the execution of their duty and it should no different in Belize, particularly from a foreigner that under no circumstances could pull that crap wherever she lives. This would also be true regardless of whatever quantity of donation or business she has generated. Also please remember that she was in fact found GUILTY of assaulting the officer, she somehow found the strength to raise them during the assault but then wants us to believe she was in too much pain to be handcuffed. This criminal was then charged one thousand three hundred and fifty dollars for all charges. Whether the fine was even paid is another question. I’m not sure if the tourism police officers falls under the public service regulations, but do you have any idea what it cost to transfer a public officer?? $1,200.00 transfer grant plus $200.00 housing allowance for 2 years, total ~ $6,000.00. So by my estimate, Jr’s intervention is costing the country almost $5,000.00 Respect to Officer Young for carrying out her duty and standing for what she believed. Keep your head UP, everything happens for a reason!

  19. Nimbo says:

    “She was working as a security officer; even though you are a police officer twenty-four hours. ” – so we, I mean we cuz we end up paying even you- we pay her to be a police offer for twenty four hours? Get some sense into your head.

    the tourist has been bringing divers for 15 years- so she has the island by the b@!!$??

    SInce you claim to be the minister of tourism and that is what you are being paid for 24 hours to do your job. Get your lazy bones to Succotz and resolve that matter that indeed has to do with tourism and our people too.


  20. Nimbo says:

    @halla-pow, cruffy from philly- the fact she is coming to Belize for years does not mean she owns Belize. Let her do that in her own country she would have suffered a harsher punishment and lets see if the grand minister of that country would have visited her at jail and demanded the arresting officer wake up from her bed an offer bail. NONSENSE!!

    @Louisville,Ky – you couldn’t have said it any better. Those were people who had sense and brains. unlike our grand minister of tourism wagging his tail and jumping up high every time he sees the benjamins.

  21. Joe says:

    Minister is wrong, this smell’s like corruption and special interest. Let the department handle their officers they are in a better position to evaluate them.Much love to Officer Young.

  22. Rob says:

    OK so the minister requested that this corporal be transferred before this incident happened. Now he gets wind of this situation and being that he already has reservations about the performance of this particular corporal he decides to go check into the situation. Now this tourist that has been coming to the island for 15 years is there on some minor charges where the officer in charge can grant her a station bail but she refuses to do so because this tourist insulted her and curses her out. Should I say more ppl? yes the tourist admits she was being disrespectful to the corporal but who gives the corporal the right to hold this tourist for a few days just because when by law she should of been given a station bail. These charges does not require that only a magistrate can grant bail. Now this tourist who has been bringing divers to belize helping our economy is threatening to never come to belize again nor bring anyone. If I was minister Heredia I would of done the same damn thing, NO APOLOGIES.

  23. b.Jones says:

    Hallo-Pow… Please stay where you are bc Belize don’t miss people like you. And the people who find this drunk credible we don’t need them to visit Belize neither bc it’s obvious they also believe they are also better than the people of Belize. Respect goes both way, Money or no money. Keep your B& apology for your !@$$self…Like the old Belizean saying goes “Hall yuh !@$$”

  24. Black Brothas n Sistas says:

    Corporal Young can be our Rosa Parks, how much more humiliation are we willing to take as Black Belizeans

  25. Rob says:

    People must remember that before Minister Heredia was a Minister he was a fisherman and a tour guide he has always been a people person. So now that he is a minister he should not be a people person no more ? U guys think that because he is a minister he is too big to go down to the station to check on his fellow san pedranos or in this case a tourist he has known for many years? U guys with those stupid comments should get real. By the way the residents of his constituents are the ones that voted him in so I guess they didnt have a problem with his lack of intelligence or eloquence maybe they voted him in because he doesn’t act like he is too big and forgets where he comes from. food for thought for those with all the stupid comments condemning the minister.

  26. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why don’t you Heredia tell the Belizean people that you also assisted Mcafee.

  27. Westbredjay says:

    The fact is , the police department lack’s PR skills over all. I strongly believe that more emphasis should be thought in the training of our police and all Government employees. They simply do not know who to talk to the general public, this is across the board with most government employee. They have this attitude that you owe them something and that they are more important than you the regular joe. With that said!

    I visited Belize back in July and manage to visit and stayed on the island of San Pedro for about four days. This same office in question , I withness for myself while having some drinks, was very abusive and lack professional aptitude ..

  28. Rod says:

    Nigel it is total morons like you that have Belize in the state it’s in always supporting this corrupt pm and gov. I am willing to bet you live in the states and you come on here talking garbage and defending the most corrupt pm and gov. In the history of this country if anyone is prejudice it is this pm and gov. Who are bigots and prejudice against anyone who is not black so keep your moronic comments to yourself traitor.

  29. ree says:

    next foolishness. All Police shud leave the Island so his stupid. cant even talk- sad case of a Politician take over their job.

  30. b.Jones says:

    @Rod….Now it all makes sense…You being from San Pedro explains why you have Black people. I now realize that you are one of those ‘white’ belizeans from San Pedro….lol…What a loser you are…Smdh

  31. b.Jones says:

    @Rod…*Now it explain why you hate black people so much…..smdn

  32. giggy says:

    I believe minister heredia did what he is supposed to do , and that is promote tourism in Belize, unfortunately many belizean dont understand that tourists do have options and every time a tourist is put in jail for “incorrect words” without bail is appalling to citizens from free democratic countries. Many times I travel to belize i firsthandedly witness indiscretions from the police and unfortunately the police do set up tourists and do shake them down for money, especially the narcs on the beach whom sell drugs to tourists then arrest them , then ask for money to let them go……….Unfortunately when incidents like these occur people worldwide listen then make informed decisions not to travel to a country where tourists are harrassed and discrimminated against. Minister Heredia I stand and give you a round of applause for doing exactly what you should do care and respect your duties as Minister of tourism in Belize!

  33. Seletar says:

    Where a government minister can intervene to HELP a person, he can also intervene to HURT a person.

    Law enforcement, above all things, must be impartial and equal. Lady Justice is always shown blindfolded, to guarantee that everyone who comes before her is treated the same. Not in the Jewel!

  34. alley cat says:

    Rod, Musa is ranked as the worst PM Belize has ever had…

  35. giggy says:

    who cares?

  36. Bajan says:

    Mr. Minister PLEASEEEE!!!! This is the most absurd excuse i have heard anywhere ihave been in this world. A bit of advice to you sir ” Dont come to Barbados with that dumb belief that it will happen here. Your behaviour is loaded with arrogance which shouldnt be accepted by anyone including other politicians in Belize regardless of which political party they belong to.

  37. nigel says:

    Rod I don’t make it a habit to argue with creatures of lesser intellect as it is akin to me arguing with my dog; but you my friend have proven your stupidity as I always post my comments condemning this government and I have in the past lashed out at the P.M. If you have ever read one of my comments before you would know that I favour neither of the two politically oppressive regimes as they do nothing but create obedient single minded primates such as yourself. But I guess those were the times you were slinging your faeces from your cage in the zoo. I weep for you Rod as you will most likely die from your own stupidity at an early age or whatever constitutes a young age for primates. I noticed you posted a comment at 11:53p.m (probably when you were alone in your cage) and then one at 12:59p.m that was directed at me and this was probably about the time your handlers let you out of your cage and you were able to Google all the “big words” I used. I on the other hand have a life thus my reason for just now humouring you with a response to your idiosyncratic racist ranting. Poor Rod I cannot blame you for your ignorance (not the creole meaning inferring anger but the true meaning that confers stupidity) as your blue masters have kept you so ignorant that free thought is not in your nature. You my friend may just be an oddity and you may prove Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection wrong for how can a person this stupid live for so long? Oh and by the way I am 100% Belizean and have lived here all my life so your assumption of me being a foreigner that probably comes from the way I write let me be the first to break the news to you Rod the Racist us Belizeans can be intelligent too. This comes as a shocker to you huh? I don’t blame you they probably thought you in the zoo that you are from a third world country and are not capable of any intelligent thought. Anyway Rod I will not sully myself further by trying to teach an old primate new tricks.

  38. Bear says:

    @Giggy, I’m actually appalled when anyone, tourist or Belizean, is jailed for “incorrect words,” because I think the right to speak freely means we all have to pay a price of enduring some insults without putting the other party in jail. When you can be jailed for saying something that does not cause or threaten actual harm to another person, you’ve lost free speech.

    I also believe bail for minor offenses should be available quickly for everyone, not just tourists. There should be an approved list of bail amounts for non-indictable offenses, so that it can be arranged without delay and with consistency. On minor offenses, they could even allow a person with a clean police record to sign a promise to appear — with the provision that breaking that promise is a separate crime with a jail sentence.

  39. citizen says:

    Minister Heredia, learn that not all females are your concubines as your dear”Ruby” from San Pedrito, Instead of wasting your time embarrassing yourself and going to the station to check on some crazy drunk @$4 !@#$% who doesn’t have a bit of respect for a police officer nor a foreign country get your lazy @$$ butt to San Pedrito and listen to our necessities . Miss Ruby can have electricity run directly to her house and install posts so she can live at ease yet we who live closer to reach electricity cant get yet because you don’t put a damn interest on it.

  40. Eagle says:

    I am a Belizean and a proud one 2. I believe that Manuel Heredia should not have gotten into law enforcement work, he has big fish to fry. Know where in the world members of government intervene in police work, infact their is strict code of conduct in place. You should be a shame that you put orders before your own. You as a Belizean Minister should be protect your law enforement officers, and should protect them. Please play your roll and act as Minister of Tourism.

    P.S: Get the 2 part of the story. J. A

  41. moses says:

    Name : MERZ LISA M
    Address : PULASKI NY
    License No: 472031
    Date of Licensure : 05/17/95
    Additional Qualification : Not applicable in this profession
    Status : REGISTERED
    Registered through last day of : 02/14

    All politics in Belize is local. So intervening by politicians is not unusual and the police higher ups accommodate them. Its how things operate in Belize. I understand that Heredia is looking out for the economy of SP, and playing the role of Mr. Big on the island, but anywhere in the world drunken behavior and assaulting a police officer is unacceptable no matter how much money tourists bring in. No one is talking about her admission of guilt and eye witness statements. I cant see how or why the corporal should be held accountable for this. The corporal did not assault Mertz; its the other way around. Question to the minister, Should we allow tourists to behave badly and break the law based on how much money they bring and spend in SP? No wonder MacAfee make papi show in SP with all the minor girls and the minister look the other way. Money is the root of all evil. SP was better off before the tourist came. Is anyone calling for Heredia’s transfer. By the way if and when he visits the states he’ll find out what racism is when he is called a wetback and asked if he is looking for landscaping job.

  42. moses says:

    This is the only Lisa mertz found as a registered nurse in the us. Can anyone verify the public information she provided to the police other that being from Syracuse.. Is it Syracuse NY. There are several cities with the name syracuse in the US.

    Lisa Mertz, B.S., R.N.
    Hospital & Health Care Professional
    Easton, Pennsylvania Hospital & Health Care
    Graduate Student at Drexel University
    St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network, St. Luke’s Hospital and Heath Network, Lehigh Valley Women’s Medical Specialties
    Master of Science in Nursing, Innovations in Intre/Entrepreneurship for Advanced Nursing Practice at Drexel University

  43. cruz says:

    Hey Nigel, i think you are my new best friend thanks for sodomising rod with your response lol !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login