REPORT #441 October 2001

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Civilian police review boards are fraught with variations and inconsistancies in operation. First off, Civilian Police Review Boards are usually volunteer and are nominated and appointed posts. Though they may have paid employed staff to do research and investigation like detectives.

A Civilian Police Review Board must have subpoena power. It also must have employment rules in the local police department, that make appearing before a board a requirement for employment. To have, or not have a board is usually the subject of a local referendum on the ballot. Then you have to create a local town, or village ordinance. The Board usually has a paid staff which screens complaints, to see what is important and can survive an appearance before the board.

For a Board to work, it also requires an elected Police Chief in the locality who will work with the Civilian Police Review Board and take action of some sort, from reprimands, to firing, or prosecution, if a Police Officer is found guilty of anything? These could be anything from complaints of discourtesy, rape, extortion, bribery, and excessive force.

Can these Boards work in Belize? Probably not yet. Not as long as we have only one national police force subject to politicians of one party, instead of locally elected police chiefs responding to the needs of the voters.

But it is an interesting idea for the short term future? After we change the; Prime Minister gets the keys to the Treasury type of crooked parliamentary governing system we use.

Alas! So many ways to bringing democracy to Belize, yet undone, as the citizens and nation remain captive of our version of the Slobadan Milosevics! Poor Belize!

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