Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2023. 9:50 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Appearing on Channel 5 News’ Open Your Eyes morning program on Monday, Prime Minister and Orange Walk Central area representative John Briceño was asked for comments on the weekend tragedy in his constituency.
But some of his own constituents have taken issue with what he said – and in turn, drawn Police scrutiny for taking their response too far.
The Prime Minister first of all called the death “senseless…something that could have been avoided,” then noted that he could not go into detail because of the ongoing investigation.
Then he observed that as a [presumably law-abiding] citizen, “If the police tell you to stop, you should stop. And I was told that these young men were racing in town, away from police. And maybe you don’t want to stop where it’s dark, but once you get by the park or in front of a store, okay, stop. The police do whatever it is that they want to do.”
His second observation was that there was a clear disconnect, or what he expressed as “truth” between citizens’ lack of respect and trust in the police because of fear of brutalization, and third, that police still need more and proper training.
It appears some took offense and went to his Orange Walk residence last night, shouting and reportedly making threats against him and police officers generally. With tensions high, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, who made an appearance on Channel 7 News’ “Sunup on 7” earlier today, tried to dissuade that course of action: “We have to understand that people do go through certain situations and we must be understanding of what they are going through; but at the same time too, they must also understand that the law must prevail. And we are not going to allow ourselves or any member of Government to be threatened by any individual. We live in a system of laws and when something wrong occurs, it is the duty of the Police to investigate and charge who needs to be charged; I don’t think that they expect the Prime Minister to intervene in a Police investigation – that is not the duty of the Prime Minister.”
As to the comments made, Commissioner Williams said there is no excuse for this behaviour no matter how one feels, and it would not be “countenanced.” Enforcement would be done, he noted, without “overreacting” on the police’s part.
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