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UDP Chairman: COMPOL letter is “just crazy”; OJ Elrington: “a very sad day” for Belize

The saga involving Police Constable Alicia Trapp and Minister of Infrastructure Development Julius Espat has taken an interesting turn.  Trapp’s boss, Commissioner Chester Williams has written to Trapp’s attorney, Orson Elrington, indicating that Trapp will be charged for the incident and attached pictures, which support the department’s justification for charging her.  All this blowback comes from a heated day of electioneering during the village council elections in Teakettle Village on Sunday, June 5.  While the Commissioner has said there is no proof that Trapp was assaulted by Minister Espat, he says the pictures show Trapp was the aggressor.  That issue was a central part of the UDP’s press conference held today. Party Chairman Michael Peyrefitte called the turn of events “just crazy”. 

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “I have never seen in my legal time a person goes to the police station and makes a complaint, that person’s attorney is then written to by the Commissioner of Police who acts as Defence Attorney for the person who is being complained against, judge and jury and declare the man not guilty. Yellow, we’ve been persecuted a few times, what police always tell us when we go and say you this man is innocent? They say we will charge the man, go to court and sort that out. They always tell you that. We can’t withdraw any charge. We can’t withdraw any report. We have to go on what the report says. Take it to the magistrate and whatever the magistrate says well then that is that. Never before the Commissioner of Police writes to the attorney for the person making the complaint, dismissing the charge and it gets better. That person that becomes the accused. I mean, that’s just crazy.”

Elrington took a less optimistic view, calling the decision by the department to charge Trapp authoritarian and dictatorial. Here’s how he explained it. 

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney for PC Trapp: “This is a very sad day in Belize. It’s tremendously disappointing to say the least. You know, it was yesterday that I thought about it and there is a prevailing sentiment in Belize that people don’t have confidence in our justice system that they feel as though justice is not delivered and they feel as though it is not for the regular man and the regular woman. They now have decided, apparently or at least through written communication, that they will go as far as charging Ms. Trapp. This is the type of behaviour that we see in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. This is absolutely unacceptable. This is a very slippery and dangerous slope which we’re going down and I think that all Belizeans, regardless of political affiliation, political loyalties that this is something which we should shun and which we should absolutely reject.”

And clapping back today was Williams who explained the logic behind his letter.  Williams took it further to say that Elrington is talking too much and he should (quote) “Shut The Hell Up!” (end of quote) 

Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “I don’t know why her attorney continues to make an issue. The more he speaks, seemingly on her behalf, the more he sinks her into a hole. I believe it’s time for her attorney to shut the hell up and allow the process to occur.  Let me say that in my letter to the attorney yesterday, I simply outlined the law to him and pointed out to him as well that the evidence is not there against Mr. Espat but, the contrary, where there is a lot of evidence against her committing an assault against the Hon. Julius Espat. Fortunately for her, Mr. Espat informed me this morning that he does not wish to proceed with court action against her at this time and so based on that she will not be charged criminally as outlined in the letter to her attorney yesterday. I think what Mr. Espat is hoping for is for her and her attorney to apologise and retract their story based on that then he will determine if he will proceed with the matter before the court. Certainly, at her prior post that she had, she was the office that was assigned to work at Cabinet meetings. I don’t think she expected that she would still be working at Cabinet meetings after all that had occurred. So if it is that the Commander of Belmopan Police Station made some adjustments to be able to accommodate having someone else working at Cabinet meetings as opposed to her then I offer certainly no objections for that. Certainly, there was some conversation. I didn’t see anything there about cursing out but like I said before, if you step into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson, you expect to get knocked the hell out. You cannot expect that you will be pet and powdered there. She stepped into the political arena and she had an exchange of words with the minister. She put herself in that position. In terms of the minister using curse words to her, there’s no such thing in the statements that we recorded.”