Minister Musa Commends Police Restraint During Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Protests

Minister Musa Commends Police Restraint During Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Protests

Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, is commending the department for policing the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association’s days of protest without incident. The recent protests were not out of the ordinary for the sugar industry, but the level of restraint shown by the police was surprising for many. In comparison to previous clashes with the caneros, the events were calm and well-handed. However, the cops’ hands-off approach has drawn some negative criticism when compared to the stand-off a few years ago with the stevedores, when rubber bullets and projectiles went flying. Today, Musa weighed in on both aspects and shared his views on why the cops’ approached varied in both instances. 

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs:“I think we even got the respect and appreciation of the farmers in particular the BSCFA in the way that police officers handled the situation out there. It is no coincidence again one of the hallmarks of coming into office has been for us the reduction in the number of complaints against police officers, rogue police officers, abusive police officers you can see a stark difference between 2023 and 2019 in terms of the number of reports against police officers and that comes down to the very no tolerance approach that we have taken since 2020. And again that was reflected out there. We did not have any major road blockages. I think there were some instances but again the police were able to peacefully, quietly, amicably have the protesters come off of the highway and I think they handled it extremely professionally and I want to congratulate them for that. It is a huge difference in the style and the approach. I certainly want to commend the Commissioner of Police he has certainly been on board with me whenever we say we cannot be exercising that kind of force, we have to exercise the greatest possible restraint in any situation and I think moving forward so long as there is that understanding because that is what it comes down to, being able to communicate with the protesters, the police officers having a full handle of the situation and so long as you can accomplish that then it should never reach to the point where you have that type of violence where rubber bullets were used in that situation and individuals were harmed. So again it does take a lot of communication from both sides so patience, understanding and communication.” 

Musa added that the farmers also played a role in keeping the peace during their protest.

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