Police Association: Toe-To-Toe With Top Cop

Last week, the Police Association made history when it came out publicly condemning the Senior Command's rushed police transfers. Commissioner of Police, David Henderson, who stated publicly that his office was working to reverse the transfers of those aggrieved officers.

Finally, we also told you that the Ministry of National Security was displeased that the Association went against the media police to speak freely to us.

But it seems that things are coming to a head, and 7News received unofficial word today that the senior Command has decided that because the Association refuses to remain quiet, they will be dismantled, and all privileges that they previously enjoyed are now null and void.

It sounds like a gag-order to us, but the Police Administration - all the way up to the Ministry of National Security Level - seems to have decided that they will no longer be 'dissed' by the Association which refuses to keep quiet.

There is nothing official yet, but we contacted the acting president, who told us that they had to miss a 10 o'clock appointment with Commissioner, who was supposed to tell them all of this in person.

Here's how he described that conversation with the Commissioner this morning:

Cpl. Eldon Arzu, Acting President - Police Association
"All our members were here and by 1pn we went to the Commissioner's office to see if we could have had the meeting with him and the Commissioner of Police was not receptive. I must state that my vice president when he called the commissioner of police earlier in the morning to try to see how he could have reschedule for 1pm he was not receptive at all. He just went on saying that all the resources that have been given to the association which is the office which is located at PGA will be withdrawn and the secondment of the president will be revoke. However, nothing has been given to the association in writing."

Daniel Ortiz
"How have they receive your efforts to speak out on the media?"

Cpl. Eldon Arzu
"It's only some persons in the administration that have a problem with the association going on the media. What they have done thus far is to bring to my attention that there is a media policy for the department stating that we as the association do not have the authority to go before the media. The association is not of that view in communicating with the media to get the message across to our general membership."

Daniel Ortiz
"There are other rules that they are saying that you guys have violated and also that the police association is currently being insubordinate by going against their wishes to speak to the media."

Cpl. Eldon Arzu
"I say to them to go and look at the Belize Constitution and the Belize constitution - there are provisions for an association to act in such a manner."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, but how do you respond to a criticism that you the police association have been the ones to misinterpret the constitution and what it says in relation to your ability to speak freely as police officers?"

Cpl. Eldon Arzu
"The association is not of that view. The association believes that they are well within the confines of the constitution, so if that is the case then - the ministry and the commissioner believes that we have infringed then he has his rights to take action."

Daniel Ortiz
"They are saying that so far they have been very patient with the police association and their insubordination and that you guys could have been brought up on disciplinary charges."

Cpl. Eldon Arzu
"Apparently you have more information that I do. Nothing of that sort has been written to the association. To hear that information is like new information. I was expecting that we could have met with the commissioner today to see where we go from here but thus far we have not."

The Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, told us that what the officers of the police association is doing is strictly prohibited and subject to disciplinary charges.

He also added that because they believe that the association misinterpreted the laws and regulation which governs them, they have opted at this time not to bring them up on disciplinary charges.

We'll keep following up on this situation.

Channel 7