It has been four days now since four Belizeans, including a seaman of the Belize Coast Guard and a police officer, have been detained in Guatemala on firearm and ammunition offences. Today, the men went to court where they were formally read their charge of being in possession of unlicensed and illegal firearm and ammunition and have been ordered to go to trial this week. Love News has learnt that the Ministry of National Security has employed the services of a Guatemalan attorney to represent the four men. The men are currently at a facility in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. Police Commissioner, Chester Williams, spoke on the future career of the police officer.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Yes the officer was held in Livingston Guatemala and he was not on any duty assignment. They went there on their own and unfortunately, they were caught. In terms of what happens we are currently coordinating through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which you would know as a matter of protocol we normally do when it comes to nationals of other countries the communications normally goes through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to what can be done to assist the officer. In terms of his status with the Police Department, we cannot say at this time because we have to wait to see what will be the outcome of the matter in Guatemala. The presumption of innocence is still there. I would want to think that he would go through a court process and we are hoping that the process will be fair and whatever the outcome of that court process will be then we will see how that will play out back home. I for one am hoping that the officer and the others can be sent home and if it is that there is any punishment to be admitted that it be served here but we cannot dictate to the Guatemalan authority what to do. We can just hope that they are going to be considerate and lenient in dealing with the officer and the other Belizeans.”
Jose Sanchez: “Did he have a licensed firearm according to what the Police Department itself is saying and he did not seek permission to leave the country as I understand is apart of the Police standing orders. Can you confirm that?”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “Yes we were not aware of his departure to Livingston and yes that is a breach of discipline but at this time I am not going to kill the officer. He and his family at this time are going through a difficult time. Let us wait to see how he overcomes that if he can and once that has been overcome then we will begin to look at other issues. For the time being, I want to appeal to all police officers. If you don’t need to go across the border do not go and yes we know we cannot stop you from going but the Police Act does dictate that if it is that you want to leave the country you must first seek permission and I would ask that if or when they would want to leave that the follow the process outlined in the Police Act.”
As it relates to the seaman of the Belize Coast Guard, we understand that he had been absent from work on Friday, April 5 and was caught in Guatemala the following day. As it relates to his job, Love News understands that he could face repercussions internally. The four men are: Police Constable, Fabián Laurie, Coast Guard Seaman, Pedro Colomer, Kevin Hernández and Jerille Laurie. As noted by the Compol, the official communications from Belize is being handled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Love News understands that the men were arrested whilst under the influence of alcohol, in a hotel room where the firearms and ammunition were reportedly found. They have since declared that the items were not theirs.