Government has with some regularity boasted that its coffers are bulging with Petrocaribe funds to the tune of hundreds of millions. And that money can apparently be used for all sorts of things, from infrastructure and bridging budget shortfalls to buying helicopters, hams and turkeys. Well today News Five was in Caye Caulker and passed by the Police barracks where those stationed on the island are housed. It is in deplorable condition. Not surprisingly, we couldn’t get any of the officers to speak to us on camera, but they did speak to us, and they need government to listen. One man who wasn’t afraid to go on camera is Charles Rubio Jr., a member of the Caye Caulker Tour Guide Association. The association works closely with the Police because tourism is the lifeblood of the island, and he is speaking on behalf of the Police officers who can’t.
Charles Rubio Jr., Treasurer, Caye Caulker Tour Guide Association
Charles Rubio Jr.
“It is in bad shape. The step is falling apart, the yard is so dirty. It is a shame to see the Police officers waking up every day, going to work, sacrificing to try to bring this island together and waking up in high grass, the yard is dirty, the place is in bad shape and we’re trying to ask the government now to try and do something about it. The condition inside is so shameful. A Police friend of mine got really hurt a couple days ago because a dog ran into his cycle and he fell off, and I went to visit him at the barracks to take medicine for him and it was a shame. It was an old bed inside, the wall wasn’t painted, there was just a little fan. And I said mein, this is the way you living here to be working here? And every Policeman I see coming here, after a year they want to be transferred because the situation is so poor for them. The Police are trying to do BBQ sometimes to fundraise to try and rebuild this barracks but it is hard by sell BBQ to rebuild this barracks, so we are asking government to please support the Policemen. They are the ones that are doing the job here. They are the ones keeping us safe. We respect them, and we’re really asking the government to please come forward and say hey, here is a two, three hundred thousand dollars, let us build the Policemen a brand new barracks.”
We note for context where those bulging coffers are concerned, that officers who were transferred to the island years ago have still not received their standard transfer grant, payable upon transfer. We note also that last year the Ministry of the Public Service announced increases in allowances for Police Officers, effective retroactively. Those increases, we are told, never did happen.