Tonight there are serious accusations of extortion being made against Belizean authorities and it’s not Belizeans who are making the accusations. According to an article written on the Por Esto Mexican Newspaper, a little after midnight on New Year’s, police set up a checkpoint at the height of the junction before crossing the Chactemal International Bridge which joins Belize and Mexico. Four officers were manning the checkpoint and according to the article, those four officers were the ones extorting Mexican Nationals who were heading back home after spending some time at the casinos.
One person, who was apparently interviewed by the correspondent who wrote the story, is quoted as stating that when he approached the checkpoint at around 2:00am he thought that an accident had occurred but then noticed that Belizean authorities were carrying out inspections.
According to the interviewee, who preferred to remain anonymous, as he reached the checkpoint he was asked to produce his driver’s license which he did not have on him. He was then informed of the offence committed and told that he will be taken to the Corozal Magistrates Court.
To make matters worse, allegations are that the officers were extremely offensive and even told the Mexican National that if he were to set foot at the Belize prison he would be sodomized. With that said, allegations are that the officers then asked the man for 500 pesos in order to go free. Since the individual only had 150 pesos he told the officers to do their work and arrest him if they needed to. The officers then grabbed the money from his hands and told him he was free to go.
Another person, who was allegedly interviewed, is quoted as saying that when he stopped at the checkpoint the officers noticed that he was drinking and told him that if he did not want to be taken to the Corozal Magistrates Court he must pay them $500 pesos.
According to the individual, he gave the officers the money and continued on his path. The report states that only vehicles with Mexican license plates were targeted by the officers. Today when we contacted Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Department, Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, he told us that as far as he is concerned no one has officially lodged a complaint of extortion at the Corozal Police Department.
Ramirez was unable to answer if Corozal Police carried out a checkpoint by the Chactemal Bridge Area on New Year’s because he was not on duty at the time. So, we contacted Second in Command of the Department Daniel Arzu who we understand worked on New Year’s Day. But we got nowhere with Arzu because he told us to direct our questions to the Officer in Charge. The higher ups of the department in Belmopan were also unable to answer our questions since no official complaint has been made.