Legality of Belize Defence Force’s Nightclub Ban on Soldiers Questioned

Legality of Belize Defence Force’s Nightclub Ban on Soldiers Questioned

On Tuesday, we told you of the orders by the Belize Defence Force command that prohibits soldiers from patronizing the Eruption Night Club in Ladyville.  It is a story that gained significant traction on our social media page, and one that begged the question of its legality.  It is on that note that our newsroom set out to see whether this order is infringing on the constitutional rights of the soldiers, and is the BDF within its legal rights to do so.  Attorney Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington was able to do some research on the matter, and told our newsroom that there is a degree of separation between the general population and public officers.

Orson OJ Elrington, Attorney-at-Law: “As you know under our constitution on section ten of our constitution that persons should not be deprived of their freedom of movement and so that is the general rule that applies that there should be no restriction on your freedom of movement. However there is a proviso in that very same section of the constitution under section F which says that or the imposition of restrictions on the movement or resident within Belize or in the right to leave Belize of any officer in the public service as is required for the proper performance of his function. And so there is the opportunity to restrict the movement of public officers and certain members of the public service or other members of the society for various different reasons that’s only one of the reasons that is lawfully allowed for the restriction of movement. For example I know that in the BDF they must get the permission to be able to go to Guatemala the reasons for that are obvious it presents a security risk not only for the soldiers themselves but for the country to have members of the BDF going to a country which has an active claim against Belize. So in that case we can see that I think any reasonable person would say that how that is a reasonably justifiable restriction on the freedom of movement of BDF  soldiers. So that is going to be the relevant question in this matter is whether or not it is reasonable justifiable in relation to a BDF soldier and their function as a BDF soldier to restrict their freedom of movement from going to specific establishments. It is my understanding that this new order which would deem if you go to Eruption night club to be out of bounds as they call it for a BDF soldier is a result of the incident where a BDF soldier unfortunately lost his life I believe it was sometime in last week on the highway. So that has to be the relevant question whether or not the restriction is justifiable under the circumstances as it relates to the function of a BDF soldier.”

Love News understands that the order was drafted in light of a hit and run that claimed the life of BDF soldier, Hector Cho, on Thursday, April 13.  We reached out to the Acting Chief of Staff, Colonel Jermaine Burns who would only tell us that, “it is what it is” – end of quote.

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