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Minister Musa Condemns Assault of Love News Reporter

Minister Kareem Musa has also called the way Orange Walk police officers handled Love News reporter Vejea Alvarez a disappointment. Alvarez has lodged a formal complaint against Sergeant Evaristo Cobb, who was caught on camera physically assaulting Alvarez and accusing him of assaulting a police officer. He was punched in the chest and verbally abused before being placed in a jail cell with a detainee who was not wearing a mask. The assault on Alvarez began in the compound of the Northern Regional Hospital where nurses were protesting. Minister Musa says that the security officer at the NRH had no right to refuse Alvarez access to the NRH compound.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “I have to say that I was extremely disappointed by the reaction of the officer on the scene. Firstly I don’t know what prompted the security guard to call or better yet to even refuse Mr.Vijea access on the compound. I don’t know what prompted that and certainly I don’t know what prompted the police officers to have been called in to enforce the security guard’s decision so that is something that we need to look at because if it is one thing that I made very clear to our Commissioner of Police and to the officers is that we will not in any way tolerate the suppression of the freedom of the press, it is extremely important that we recognize we live in a democratic country and in no way should we tolerate that form of suppression. And so I had requested of Ms.Trujillo that Vejea go in and make a report to Professional Standards Branch I believe that that has been done if I’m not mistaken and so we will definitely look further into it and take action as we see fit.”

Reporter: Is it disappointing though that these sort of incidents continue to be recorded even as you as the Minister of Home Affairs ?

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “Yes and I believe it is only through action and that is why I encourage all members of society if there is an instance whereby you feel aggrieved or abused or mistreated by any police officer I always recommend utilize the avenue of professional standards branch and that is something since the new administration has taken office it is something that I personally and the CEO have been following up on the reports and so that is the only way that we in the Ministry can take action against rogue police officers so that is something I want to encourage members of the public if you feel aggrieved please go in and make a report to Professional Standards Branch and from there we will take further action.”

Alvarez has filed a report to the Professional Standards Branch.