Prime Minister Briceno Comments on Dyandre Chee Fatal Shooting
Following the fatal shooting of Dyandre Chee, Prime Minister John Briceno, who is also the Area Representative for Orange Walk Central, appeared on a local morning talk show and was asked for his opinion on the matter. The Prime Minister, not aware of all the facts of the case, stated that a citizen should stop when ordered to do so by police officers and that the actions of the group showed a lack of respect towards the officers. His comments caused an uproar in Orange Walk, upsetting Chee’s family. This afternoon, PM Briceno explained what he meant.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Basically what I said is that if the police tells you to stop you should stop and I said but it makes two points one is that either our citizens are afraid of the police or B they don’t respect the police that was the point that I was making. I was in no way trying to say that what happened to the teenager was deserved of course it wasn’t. If you were to have listened to everything I had said the first thing I said was that my heart goes out to the family and my sympathies go out to the family for the loss of a loved one that’s what I started with. I also made the point that I do not know enough to comment on the incident and that it was going to end up in court. So I just spoke just broadly about what is going on not necessarily about that incident. Now that the police have been charged because of the investigation it shows that as a government we are not prepared to accept any kind of police brutality. I spoke with Minister Musa yesterday in Cabinet and said but I mean what’s going on and he said Prime Minister we have been giving lessons and coaching our police over and over and over and it just so happens that sometimes some of our police officers are trigger happy and secondly I don’t think they should belong in the town in our municipalities with these big guns and this is what happens. So I don’t rejoice that they are charging these officers for murder but what is important to point out is to make the point that as a government we’re not going to tolerate it and if you are found that you’re guilty then you have to face the consequences but again my heart goes out to the family. The young kid’s mother is a second cousin of mine, I know the family so how could I just be callous as if I don’t care. So it’s important if you would make that distinction.”