Clifford Vernon says the system failed him
A resident of Roaring Creek Village says seven months of his life were stolen due to flaws in the justice system. 36-year-old Clifford Vernon never expected that he would have lost everything a year ago when he was picked up by police in Belmopan. Reporter Vejea Alvarez with the help of Cayo Correspondent Fem Cruz tells us more.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: 36-year-old Clifford Vernon says his life was turned upside down after spending a year behind bars at the Belize Central Prison; on a charge that was dropped months into his remand. On February 2 last year, Vernon was riding his bicycle in Belmopan when he was picked up by police.
Clifford Vernon: “The police stopped me and they took away my bike and they took me into the station there then afterwards the next day, that same day they locked me up now the next day they charged me in Belmopan for burglary. Then afterwards because I pled not guilty they took me and locked me up at the prison.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The Roaring Creek resident was charged with Burglary the following day, and on February 4, 2022, he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison for a five-month period. Vernon was initially to be picked up by police and taken to court on July 6, 2022, where he would have found out that the charge against him was dropped. But sources tell Love News that the cops never showed up. Vernon then spent an additional 7 months behind bars and only returned to court in February of 2023 after he made an inquiry about his case with the prison’s record unit.
Clifford Vernon: “I stated back there for one year. One year straight. If I didn’t call a person I know where I live the odds are I would still be back there right now. When I went back to court the magistrate told me that my case was done dismissed already. The Magistrate told me I have to find a way to get back these months because he said he doesn’t know what happened to the prosecutor the police looked like they wanted to have me in prison for nothing.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Love News reached out to the Chief Executive Officer at the Kolbe Foundation, Virgilio Murillo, who stated that a thorough investigation into the incident has been launched to determine what led to Vernon’s additional stay at the prison. However, Vernon says that he wants justice for a mistake that led to him losing everything, even his belongings that were confiscated upon his detention.
Clifford Vernon: “I lost my job. I lost my wife. I lost everything, my clothes, everything and even my water, light and those things they already cut off too.”
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: What did they tell you when you went to check on it ?
Clifford Vernon: “They told me that with the bike they already put that on auction sale the rest of things have been put on auction sale. My ID card it looks like they already threw that away. Right now I’m just walking around no bike, no ID card.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Vernon was released on February 4 2023 and says that he will now be obtaining legal representation to take court action against the government for the injustice he says was done to him. Vejea Alvarez, Love News.