The Minister of National Security John Saldivar has confirmed that the man who pulled out a firearm and fired shots during a brawl at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan were off duty police officers. It happened on Monday night during a football match between students of Galen University and the University of Belize. A fight among the students ensued but was quickly diffused when someone fired shots in the air. A 37-second video on what happened circulated on social media. No one was injured in the incident but it triggered a meeting on Tuesday between the Provost of Galen, Eve Aird and the President of UB, Professor Clement Sankat. Professor Sankat told Love News that they are investigating the incident and UB students who are found to be involved in the brawl will be dealt with accordingly. But what of the police officer who drew his weapon? Well, the Minister of National Security John Saldivar who is also the president of Bandits football club says they have been commended.
Honorable John Saldivar Bandits Owner: “I can tell you though as the President of the Bandits we have already acted in terms of the one player that plays on our football club. That person has been suspended for three games pending the result of the investigations of the University and by the FFB who may chose to take further sanctions against that player and other players that were involved so that is my position on that. With respect to the firing of weapons I am understanding by reading the reports of the officers. It has now been confirmed that there were off duty Police officers who were attending the game and when they saw the fight break out and the crowd swarming the field they took to the field to try and control the matter in the best way they could and that included firing a few warning shots. I know that the officers have been commended by the organizers of the game in being able to bring the matter to a quick conclusion without any further injuries. One of the things about policing is that there is no text book that we can follow on how to deal with situations as they unfold and those officers had to use their best judgment to bring the matter under control and they felt that firing some warning shots was the best way and we can never tell whether it was right or wrong. The situation was diffused and so we have to have assume that their act of acting and intervening at that time was a part of why it was diffused without any major injuries.”
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that he doesn’t see any wrong doing on the part of the officers as much as there was on the part of those who displayed poor sportsmanship on the field.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “ I am not going to kill the officers for it yes. We have spoken to them about it and well I got a call yesterday from a young man who is from the ATLEB and they are investigating the matter and they have asked for the Police’s cooperation so we are cooperating with them. The officers will be providing a report to the ATLEB Association to form part of their investigation so that they can determine how they are going to move with the matter but the blame should fall squarely on the students who obviously lacked sportsmanship, who obviously and for the most part they really need to do some soul searching as it relates to what they want to do moving forward. I listened to an interview yesterday on the news by the President of the University of Belize and he too expressed his dissatisfaction and have said that those students who have been involved from the University of Belize are going to be disciplined. They will go through a tribunal stage and then they decide what to do but something has to be done.”
The Football Federation of Belize also issued a statement on the incident saying that the situation will be assessed and that any player belonging to the Federation who is at fault will be dealt with accordingly.