Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa says he has given his full support in exploring the idea of witness protection. Musa spoke on this topic with the media this week where he explained that the collaboration and discussion are being had with several agencies including the US Embassy.
Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “As you’re aware we had a round table, a second high level round table on January 14 that was organized by the US Embassy, an excellent initiative and I give it my full support as the Minister of Home Affairs. We had presentations from a lot of stake holders, from Justice Antoinette Moore she was one of the presenters as well. So it is a very important discussion moving forward when we look at getting more convictions for violent offences in our country. As you know one of the main sources of evidence in our justice system is eye witness reports and we have seen over the last twenty or so years where eye witnesses have not wanted to volunteer or to continue with their statement after they have given it because they fear for their lives and so it is a very real and present danger to our justice system we have recognized that and that is why we’re having these discussions to come up with ways to implement programs witness protection programs so that we can get our eye witnesses having that sort of confidence in giving their statements to police and following through on them and so it’s a huge step in the right direction to have this type of legislation. We are looking at all options at this time. Indeed it’s going to be a very costly venture we have to recognize that but at the same time we have to engage the public, we have to ensure that the common man and woman, the common Belizean is aware out there that it will take buy in from them as well to these types of programs to ensure that we build back the confidence in the judiciary.”
Reporter: So you think it’s a feasible program for Belize ?
Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “It is. It is a feasible one but we have to recognize like I said that it’s going to be a very costly one and so we are going through a pandemic and resources are slim at this time and so it’s all about prioritizing but again in terms of the justice system this is something that we need to definitely reinvigorate.”