I COULD NOT HELP IT WHEN I CAME ACROSS THIS DISTURBING LETTER MAILED IN BY A GENTLEMAN WHO HAS EARNED HIS RESPECT AND GRATITUDE FROM THE PEOPLE OF PUNTA GORDA
IT COMES FROM A FORMER TEACHER OF MINE FROM T.C.C. IVAN DART
SO IN SUPPROT OF HIS PAIN I HEREBY DECIDED TO REPUBLISH HIS LETTER TO THE PUBLIC AND HERE GOES
POLICE OUTRAGE IN PUNTA GORDA
Does the Belize Police force really have powers to act independently from, and above the laws of Belize? I would like bring to your attention and , hopefully to readers of the REPORTER another woeful example of police malpractice.
I first came to Belize in 1986 as a teacher in Punta Gorda. I loved Belize, especially living in the beautiful Toledo District for over six years. I eventually moved on, now living with my Belizean family in England, but visiting Belize whenever possible-until now.
I keep in touch with happenings in Belize by e-mail and the World Wide Web and read with concern the increasing impact of crime and its negative impact on the Belizean way of life. What concerns me more is that the effectiveness of the Police Force is not enhanced by tolerating the actions of ( in this case ) one mindless thug of a Police Constable based in Punta Gorda by the name of PC Choco.
My wife recently made a trip from England, meeting her lifelong friend in New York and they both travelled home to Punta Gorda for the stay. Unfortunately, her friend's house where they were staying was burglarized and her friend lost all her money. My wife fortunately had successfully hidden her valuables and they were not taken. Unfortunately and to her profound shock, she was ARRESTED as the prime suspect. She was subjected to interrogation, intimidation and threatened to be taken to court unless PC Choco received the answers he wanted -i.e. those convenient to make him look good in solving the robbery so quickly.
My wife was humiliated, highly distressed and reduced to sobbing tears. She was alone, 6000 miles away from her children, living a nightmare of what should have been a happy trip to her birthplace. When picked up at the trip address she was staying, the police arbitrarily ransacked her possessions and those of the owner of the house, a friend completely distant from the whole business.
They illegally smashed in the door without a search warrant, and even accused her of having a CIA camera. She was told she would be locked up for 72 hours despite the fact that she was scheduled to return to England in less than 24 hours. The entire tirade of bullying, mind games and totally illogical arguments of the police was pathetic and frightening in its level of stupidity. They run round like headless chickens and cannot in most cases investigate their way out of a paper bag. All this happened and still PC Choco had not even taken a written statement from my wife.
Such total disregard for the law by an individual supposedly committed to supporting social justice and sworn to uphold the law is not even laughable. It's unconsciounable!
In fairness to the Inspector of Police in Punta Gorda, he eventually muzzled PC Choco, but how can he allow officers under his charge to act in this way to start with? Anyway, my thanks to him for his common sense and decency to prevail over mindless disorder and licensed uniformed thuggery.
To cap this sorry saga, before releasing my wife, PC Choco DEMANDED to keep some Sterling currency that he had previously confiscated along with her passport and US currency, "for all the trouble she had caused him." (EXTORTION?) My wife missed her flight to New York, and as a result missed her connection to London, and had to buy new tickets.
My wife is a Belizean and now does not want to go back to her own country. I think that speaks volumes about the problems Belize is facing. If this can happen to her in her own country, what is the impression left with other visitors to Belize ( unless they are protected within the cocoon of an expensive tourist resort )? I'll leave you with that thought.
signed: Ike Dart
AND HERE IS MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IF ANY ONE CARES TO MAKE A COMMENT THANKS
and my name is RUSSELL RAMCLAM