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Youth Minister addresses calls for police reform

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Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021. 12:38 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The movement to stop unnecessary use of force and killing of youths continues even after Friday’s funeral for Laddie Gillett, 14, of Cayo.

National anger continues to be stoked along with calls for reform. While the issue of police brutality and profiling is hardly new, the effects in the particular case of Gillett and his companions are not.

So, what is the Government’s take? Kevin Bernard, the Minister of Youth, Sports & E-Governance told Channel 7 News the issue has been discussed in Cabinet.

Bernard points out that it starts with proper police training and making sure the Gillett case is taught to recruits as an example of what not to do: “There is a need for us to ensure – and what was brought up to us, as you know, the recent intake of police officers, this is the first time that these officers had to have high school diplomas. They didn’t just accept anybody. That’s one, but I think it is from that stage that you start. The proper training that has to be given, and the discipline.”

The Minister further acknowledged that “errors” like the Gillett case make us all look bad and that justice has to be pursued not only for Laddie, but for all who the Police have done wrong in the execution of their duties.

Gillett’s adoptive family and friends have publicly proposed the creation of a civilian review board for incidents of brutality and profiling, especially of minors and creating a system to ensure that officers believed under the influence are tested immediately and their recollections taken as sworn evidence.

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