Among those persons arrested under the SOE over the weekend are Gaston Barrow and Keshawn Williams. The men were arrested without charge for more than forty-eight years. The contacted attorney Norman Rodriguez who told us that his clients’ rights were violated.
Norman Rodriguez, Attorney: “He had not received an acknowledgement form and he had been given no charge. This was about 60 hours after being detained by the police. So I took issue with that I approached the officer in charge at the Queen St. Police Station and asked him if I could take my client home because he was not well and I had also been instructed that he had had two seizures whilst he was n the police custody, the first of which, my instructions are that he, they shouted for help when he lost conscientiousness and no police came for a while. The second one, he was taken to the hospital and he instructed me that the doctor looked at him or the nurse looked at him and said “You don’t have a seizure right now.” and he was taken back into police custody. His mother was not informed of this occurrence. But, the issue that I took with it is that I was there and I was privy to certain conversations or at least, I made a call directly to the officer who had taken Kushlin Williams, Gaston Barrow and many other young men to the Queen Street Police Station holding cell and I asked him if I could get a copy of the acknowledgement form and he was pointing me to the officer who had, who was at the Queen St. Police Station in charge. I was pretty upset because it was like a push around. You know? These things must stop because we are bound by law to do certain things. The acknowledgement form is no mystery. It is to be given to each person who is detained at the point of detention. I mean the treatment I received, I wasn’t happy with it but we can address that otherwise. The young men were detained for more than 48 hours and the Constitution says that they must be charged within that time or be given bail or released and these young men were still held without receiving a charge. The officer who was overall responsible for their detention did indicate that he had warrants for them and I was surprised. After 60 hours, you still have not served these young men with the warrants for whatever you’re going to charge them or detain them on? This is the issue that I took with it. They are breaking the law and they don’t seem to give any concern for the implications that it has for them or what it does to these young men having their liberties taken away.”
Love News asked the Police Commissioner about the men’s claim and here is how he responded.
Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “I am wondering if I should comment. You know? You wonder how you have so much shootings in Belize City and everybody is innocent. Nobody is a gang member. As you detain somebody, they are not a gang member. They’re innocent. So dah who di shoot? Dah law abiding citizens like me and you?”