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Are gang members’ rights being violated?

A week ago, the Ministry of National Security, John Saldivar declared a State of Emergency in two areas of Belize City.  The state of emergency was deemed necessary after a bloody weekend claimed at least six lives.   The state of emergency was signed by the Governor General and published in the Government Gazette.  As a result, it granted special powers to the security forces to function without being challenged.  However, the move by the authorities are receiving some backlash. Leeroy Banner, Attorney-at-Law, told the media that the police cannot hold someone without any evidence.

Leroy Banner Attorney at Law: “ You cannot just detain someone without evidence; that is the first thing you need. The police must have some kid of suspicion like these guys went and robbed a bank, culprits so you cannot say that because you live in a particular area automatically you are a gang member. Who will come and say that these guys are gang members? Where is the evidence that supports that so we are saying that on the face of it and the reason given today to me it seems that the law is being used unlawfully.

The state of emergency was declared in the hopes of having the September celebrations take place without any incident.