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Home Affairs Minister agrees to meeting with Rodriguez family; Commissioner dismisses alibi claim in killing

Coffins of Delmar and Amari Rodrigue during funeral service (Photo Credit: Jorge Aldana)

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2023. 9:12 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The heartbroken families of Delmar and Amari Rodriguez of San Pedrito area, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, and Carlos Chi of Libertad, Corozal District, laid their loved ones to rest toward the end of last week, around the time when their suspected killers turned themselves in and were being arraigned in Belize City.

The late Delmar and Amari Rodriguez (Photo Credit: Jorge Aldana)

Now, the former has issued a statement reflecting their thoughts and plans as the investigation moves forward, starting with a meeting with Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa and CEO Kevin Arthurs.

This, they say, is “to put forward our concerns as it related to the unfortunate and senseless killings and the way the investigation is being handled. We are publicly calling the police to appoint an independent attorney to represent our interests, advise, and appraise our families throughout the course of the investigation.” They are also asking for the survivors and their children to be put into witness protection.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries

Today in Belize City, the Minister readily agreed to the meeting, saying it is more of a request than a demand even as he expressed confidence in how the investigation had gone so far: “…this is not a hostage situation by any means. I believe that the police department is quite on top of the ball when it comes to this particular investigation. We have gathered evidence, individuals have been charged; but in relation to their information that they want to share, I by all means would want to meet with them to hear out their concerns. So I don’t perceive it as a demand, but rather a request for us to have a sit-down to discuss a situation which has plagued San Pedro for quite some time. Like I’ve said before, it’s been decades of this type of culture, this type of drug dealing that happens in San Pedro. And so it is something that we have to address and if it means me sitting down with them to hear them out, absolutely I will do that.”

The family’s statement also alleges corruption within the Police Department, whom they have accused of not keeping them informed of the progress of the investigation. On their own, they said, “We have gathered enough information about the accused killers, their affiliates and the level of capability, accessibility to illegal firearms, cash from drug proceeds, and most importantly, their deep connections with rogue police officers on and off the island. The web of connections, masterminding capabilities to carry out executions is unbelievable. But we believe that there are still many lawmen and women who stand on the good side of the law. And that gives us some confidence and hope that we may one day see justice for 3-year-old Amari Rodriguez and her dad Delmar Rodriguez, as well as Carlos Chi.”

They further ask that despite the heavy feelings surrounding the tragedy, including a suggestion that police had knowledge of threats against Delmar and allegedly took no action to protect him, that anyone who is considering retaliation should put down the gun and let the justice system take its course. That includes cooperating with police in conducting the investigation by coming forward and volunteering information.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

Meanwhile, the Commissioner refused to entertain a question about Espat’s claimed alibi, dismissing it as “stupidness” and stating: “I wonder if you all would have been in the shoes of the deceased or the victims if you would say that his account is credible.”

 

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