BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 21, 2016–The Belize Police Department’s Gang Suppression Unit exploded on the streets of Belize City in their paramilitary uniforms, emblazoned with the letters “GSU”, in bold white letters on their olive green battledress, hiding their faces behind masks as they unleashed a new, American-style aggressive form of policing, quickly earning them mostly fear from the public because of their “Gestapo-like” tactics in their operations against citizens who are mostly poor and don’t have “strings” to the politicians and top police brass.
After having three leaders since it became operational in April 2010, the GSU has had some successes, but it has likewise suffered some defeats, especially in the Supreme Court in several civil lawsuits in which judges have found that they had violated citizens’ constitutional rights.
Presently, the GSU is about to enter another phase: on Monday, government announced that the unit will be beefed-up, as if they needed more “beef.”
Just as the news of a more muscular GSU began to settle in, however, word coming out of the Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit is that the present commander of the GSU, Inspector Mark Flowers, is being investigated for an allegation that he had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old minor.
Acting Commissioner of Police Russell Blackett told Amandala today that Inspector Flowers is on leave and that the second-in-command of the GSU, Sergeant Glenn Caliz, is in charge.
Amandala asked Blackett if he could confirm that the allegation has been made against Flowers, and if indeed, the police are investigating the report that is said to have been made by the 14-year-old girl’s mother.
Blackett confirmed that the police are investigating Flowers, and said, “No one is above the law, not even me.”
The Flowers investigation will not have any negative impact on the command structure of the GSU, a senior member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Amandala today.
In August 2014, Inspector Mark Flowers was transferred from Placencia to head the GSU. He had replaced Senior Superintendent Lynden Flowers as head of the GSU.
The first Commander of the GSU was Superintendent Marco Vidal, who was transferred to the Police Special Branch.