Both Minister and Commissioner of Police weigh in

Over the past weeks, there have been several reports accusing police officers in San Pedro Town of abusive behavior. From a post on Trip Advisor claiming officers extorted tourists to reported shakedowns of newly opened businesses, the only event that prompted a response from the police top brass, including its minister in charge, was an incident involving Belizean Instagram model Joyjah Estrada.

Estrada reported that she was visiting San Pedro with her family on Thursday, May 13th, celebrating her father’s birthday when police approached her brother because he was wearing his mask improperly. Instead of just receiving a ticket for the offense, Estrada shared on her Instagram account, which has half a million fans. The details of the unpleasant moment with the police officer allegedly used unnecessary force and even pulled out his service weapon on her brother. Her brother was reportedly detained for about two hours.

The minister in charge of police, the Honourable Kareem Musa, said to have personally apologized to Estrada and her family. Musa said there was no need for the situation to have reached such levels and encouraged Estrada to file a formal report to the professional standards branch. Musa noted that police officers might be under stress; however, there is no reason to behave in such ways. Police officers should act in the absolute highest respect for their jobs and other members of the society.

Other incidents reported include a tourist couple posting on Trip Advisor that they were asked for a ‘payoff’ by police officers on the island for not wearing a face mask. The post can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3eZ44ON and was made on May 12th.

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