Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2023. 6:10 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: It is the Belize Police Department, not Cabinet and the Attorney General, who “must proceed with a thorough independent criminal investigation into an allegation of rape made against PUP minister Andre Perez,” the Opposition United Democratic Party opines via press release. (It should be noted for the record that no formal complaint has been made to Police at this stage as the known complainant is out of the country although Minister Perez has made complaints of his own.)
It further suggests that the Prime Minister and Cabinet may be party to obstruction of justice as it has no authority, the UDP believes, to be involved in such an investigation.
It notes that “Prime Minister Briceño himself may be part of the investigation as evidence has surfaced showing he was aware of the sexual assault allegations before it became public, from as far back as May of this year. If evidence shows Briceño and other ministers of government made attempts to prevent the crime from being reported then they are also guilty of a criminal offense.”
In the absence of any complaint, the Opposition complains that the Attorney General has never directly investigated such a case, normally the purview of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and charges that this amounts to delay and obstruction of justice.
The release continues to excoriate the Government’s response, noting that it showed no sympathy for the victim and compared this affair to the handling of various improprieties charged against Dean Barrow’s government, which it said the PUP complained was not good enough.
The UDP ends by calling on the Social Partners and all stakeholders serious about accountability, the rule of law and equal protection to condemn the government’s attempts to protect an alleged sexual abuser and obstruct justice. We need an independent Special Investigator to work with the Belize Police Department and the DPP to objectively and thoroughly investigate the alleged criminal actions of Andre Perez.
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