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#518455 - 10/22/16 11:37 AM The Travails of the Caye Caulker Police Barracks
Marty Offline

Condemned But Still Standing

As you know, PM Barrow has taken up the mantle as the new Minister of Police.  Tonight there are pressing issues within the Belize Police Department to be addressed.  Officers stationed in Caye Caulker are faced with substandard living conditions while working on the island.  Despite an inspection by public health authorities, as well as a string of letters written to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie condemning the quarters, officers are tonight still living in the decrepit buildings.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Caye Caulker Police Barracks is very much an eyesore.  The rotting and dilapidated wooden structure houses several officers attached to the substation.  For years, the temporary accommodation has been neglected and the men and women of law enforcement on duty on the island have been subjected to deplorable conditions at the quarters.  The outer plywood walls are flaking, and the flight of stairs leading to the upper flat of the two-storey edifice are all but rotten.  Despite a letter from the President of the Police Association in March 2014 to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, nothing has been done to address the poor living arrangements.  In that memo, also forwarded to the Ministry of National Security, President Eldon Arzu recommended that the existing buildings be torn down and replaced with newer ones since the state of those structures are irreparable.  Furthermore, the head of the Belize Police Department had been made aware that his officers are being exposed to severe health and physical injuries at the dwelling.  Last month, Public Health Inspector Horris Patten wrote to Superintendent Sandra Bowden, Coastal Executive Officer, informing her of the results of an inspection at the compound in Caye Caulker.  The findings very much affirm the concerns voiced by Arzu in his previous letter.  Inside the bathroom, not only are the inner and outer walls falling apart but there is no appropriate wash hand basin or proper lighting and since the shower stall is not properly designed, the waste water leaks back into other parts of the building.  That is the six-bedroom property on Luciana Reyes Street.  The other facility on Avenida Mangle Street is much worse where fungus growth was observed on the walls and ceiling.  Patten’s recommendation, having completed the inspection, is that the building, which has been deemed a fire hazard, is not habitable.  It is unclear if or when a budget will be allocated to construct new housing for officers in Caye Caulker.  With the PM’s new designation as Minister of Police, will the housing crisis be addressed since he is also the Minister of Finance?

Channel 5


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#518798 - 11/08/16 10:29 AM Re: The Travails of the Caye Caulker Police Barracks [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

When Will Deplorable Barracks Bldg Be Fixed?

Aragon also commented on the deplorable status of the Caye Caulker Police Barracks. Last year we told you about complaints coming from Caye Caulker police about the state of their barracks. When we spoke to the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, about the issue and he told us that the 30 million dollar loan from CABEI would be used to repair barracks all over the country. But still, since then nothing has been done.

In September the Public Health Bureau inspected the police barracks, and found that they were completely uninhabitable. According to the report, the walls, floors and ceilings are rotten and are all in a state of disrepair, and in most cases the officers living there were exposed to the elements, bats, rodents and other vermin. So what will be done about it? Here's what Aragon told us.

Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State - Home Affairs
"I think the CEO in his last interview given to the media explained clearly the situation in terms of Caye Caulker. The fact is that yes the police officers there are getting their housing allowance etc., which they should in deed find their own accommodations. But we understand the situation out there. We understand the cost of living when you are operating and working in these areas and therefore we as a police department or as a government, we also have to look at what we can do. Without a doubt that facility needs to be looked at. I am sure that we are already looking at where we can, first of all we need to find land and after land, we have to find the resources to build an adequate building. But those are things that we are looking at, because at the end of the day we need to look after the welfare of the officers likewise. The last time I spoke with the commissioner and the CEO, they are looking into the matter to see how we can address that situation. But that definitely has to be addressed one way or the other, because this goes to the welfare of the officers working on that island."

The Public Health Department has recommended that the officers living in the barracks be relocated immediately.

Channel 7


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