On the 19th July, 2021 Supreme Court Judge Honourable Westmin R. A. James handed down an important decision upholding the constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens of Belize. The judgement is crucial as it protects all of us from arbitrary search and illegal profiling which the police insist on carrying out despite these rights have always been the law in this country. We quote below the exact words of the Judge from pages 24 and 25 of his significant decision.
“On the basis of the above, the Court makes the Following ORDERS;
- A Declaration that the search of the Claimants person carried out by officers of the Belize Police Department, on the 4th August, 2020, was in the absence of any reasonable suspicion or reasonable belief and, contravened section 9 of the Belize Constitution.
- A Declaration that the photographing of the Claimants identification card constituted an unlawful and disproportionate interference with the Claimant’s right guaranteed under section 14 of the Belize constitution to not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, except under the authority of a law which makes reasonable provision in accordance with section 9 (2) of the constitution,
- A Declaration that the retention of the photograph of the claimant’s identification card further constituted an unlawful and disproportionate interference of his right guaranteed under 14 of the Belize constitution to not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, except under the authority of law which makes reasonable provision in accordance with section 9(2) of the constitution.
- A Declaration that the actions of officers of the Police Department, on the 4th of August 2020 failed to recognize and treat Mr. Gregg Nunez with the dignity and respect required by section 3 of the Belize Constitution.
- An injunction restraining the Defendants, their servants or agents or otherwise from taking and retaining photographs of persons not charged or convicted with an offence in the absence of any law authorizing and regulating the same;
- An order that the Defendants, their servants or agents or others destroy any photograph of the Claimants identification cards;
- Damages in the sum of $5,000.00 to Mr. Greg Nunez and $3,000.00 for Mr. Bryton Codd.”
- Vindicatory damages to each Claimant in the sum of $10,000.00; and costs in the sum of $12,500.00 to each Claimant.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT FABER IS TRUE
The last, outgoing set of UDP politicians were in a class by themselves.
Dean “the two sided machete” Barrow was pure pain and sorrow as he presided over the worse and most corrupt government in the country. Gapi “no ordinary Belizean” Vega turned the Lands Ministry into a cesspool of corruption. Boots “am a millionaire” Martinez never had to touch his salary even as he bought million dollar buildings after million dollars buildings from money he claimed he receives by fixing billiards tables. Yeah right! Michael “bukut” Finnegan was the court jester and national clown who built about forty plywood houses after thirteen years as housing minister and millions of dollars improperly spent while leaving the people of mesop more messed up than before.
And the list goes on.
All theses monsters, vampires, werewolves and other pestilence have left the stage, kicked out of office by an angry and long-suffering people.
But Patrick ‘woman beater’ Faber still lingers on. He took busloads of poor voters to Corozal for alcohol and pibil from Petrocaribe monies, he is now one of two ‘leaders of the opposition’.
Several of his party colleagues have been publicly making a serious allegation against him.
At the recent special convocation to decide whether to oust Faber as party leader, he was unable to obtain half of the delegates’ votes. He remained party leader because the UDP rules are very undemocratic. So long as a party leader can get a hundred and sixty two votes he cannot be removed. Every heard of such a ridiculous requirement. And these were the guys who ran (ruined) our country for the last thirteen years.
The criticism that if Faber as party leaders could not even get half of the delegates to support him he should do the proper thing and resign.
This is how real democracy works.
AUGUST THEN SEPTEMBER
Well brothers and sisters, we “experienced” our first official Emancipation Day. Finally, a law has been passed that each year on the 1st day of August, freedom from slavery will be remembered, maybe even celebrated in Belize.
The move from slavery to freedom must have brought great rejoicing to those who only knew a life of being a slave. On 1st August 1838, there must have been great rejoicing -drums, dancing, drinking, singing and carousing.
The 1st August 2021, was a Sunday. Sundays in Belize seem like the most boring day of the week. This Sunday, we were under a curfew and the fear of increasing Covid infections. The government had officially made Monday a public holiday.
The Minister of Education gave a powerful address to the nation to mark Emancipation Day. It was a relevant and fitting speech for the occasion. Respect is due, Honorable Francis.
Respect is also due to the few who organized discussions and small, significant events. Local television stations were a big disappointment, they made no efforts except for Krem. Hopefully, we will all be better prepared for 1st August 2022.
Then there is 15th August. In 1947, the colonial British were finally chased out of the sub-continent of India. It was an epic struggle that had been ongoing from 1857. Outstanding leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale in the late 1860’s to early 1900’s, to the famous Jawaherlal Nehru from late 1880s to 1960s to the great Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi whose non-violent strategy upended the British and brought freedom to millions of Indians.
After the enslavement of Africans by the British ended in all their colonies on 1st August 1838, the British brought in East Indians to Belize replace the free labour they enjoyed by using slaves from Africa. This is how large numbers of east Indians entered the Caribbean Countries, including Belize.
In the so called “ good-old days,” East Indians started celebrating their homeland’s independence. Events took place in the Yarborough area where many East Indians lived. They dressed in their native attire and many danced and performed a number of traditional rituals.
Perhaps NICH can start meetings with the “last of the Mohicans” in an effort to recall that we had vibrant, tranquil East Indians in our midst. We note with sadness how they have all been going quietly into that good night.
The recent arrivals of East Indians to Belize seem to be mostly business persons. They seldom intermarry and do not mingle with the remnants of their country men and women who have lived in Belize for generations. One reason is the new arrivals are prejudiced and come from a society with a rigid class system.
Another reason is that most of the original migrants of East Indians are poor, same as creoles, Mayas, mestizos, and Garinagu, while most of the recent arrivals (from the 1970s) are fairly wealthy.
Belize is a melting pot of ethnic groups and races. It is one of the features that make our country unique and special. Anything which weakens one of us, weakens all of us. We are all like links in a chain.
MORE UDP CORRUPTION
The UDP government, which ruined our country, was awash in corruption. Years and years of corruption piled up in their bank accounts.
Every program they touched, every project they put in place were all infected with corruption. Roads, bridges, streets, roundabouts, school buildings, fire station-everything was a hustle, a kickback, a bribe, and thieving.
Latest exposure comes in a detailed Audit Report concerning poor people’s grocery assistance. Under the UDP, most ministers decided on who can and who can’t receive a little help with groceries on a regular basis. PUP supporters, no matter how poor and how much their innocent children needed help, they would never, ever get a little rice and flour and beans or tortilla.
A certain stinging bee refuse to cooperate with the Auditor General and although some shadiness have been uncovered there are sticky questions yet to be answered.
The so-called pantry program was a big hustle for the UDP. And sad to say, some public officers let us down.
On another level, Belizeans want to know what is happening with our Boledo and Lottery which were stolen by the UDP government and as Minister Julius Espat has intimated frustratingly, when will the Police arrest certain former Ministers whose misdeeds have been documented?
BARROW, SORROW, GRABAMENT
The huge, overpriced monument to greed and corruption which is sitting by the Chetumal bridge is completing its construction. Minister Julius Espat says such a building should cost no more than approximately 15 to 17 million dollars. Dean Barrow spent 27 million dollars on it. There goes a man who knew how to waste taxpayers’ money while poverty rolled from 41 percent to 60 percent.
The building should have a small mud or plastic statue of Barrow as a constant reminder of how we should never, ever allow what he did to ever, never happen again.
There should be a public competition of what to name the statue. The greedy hands should be extra-large and molded in a money-grabbing posture.
Hey! What about the name -The Barrow Grabament.