Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), Hon. Francis Fonseca, and a number of his supporters began arriving at the Magistrate’s Court between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. in anticipation that the police would bring their party stalwart, Albert Vaughan, and a number of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) workers to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges during the afternoon session of the court.
Vaughan, a co-host on the PUP’s Positive Vibes radio station, was arrested earlier in the morning as he was covering the BML workers’ protest in front of City Hall.
The protest, however, was brought to an abrupt end by police, who arrested all 46 BML workers who had descended on City Hall to express their displeasure at being temporarily laid off due to outstanding arrears the Belize City Council had incurred with their company, which has been unable to dispense their wages.
They were hauled off by police and taken to the Queen Street Police Station lockdown.
When it was learned that the police would not be bringing Vaughan and the BML workers to court for the afternoon session, Fonseca spoke to media representatives who had set up cameras in front of the court building.
Fonseca confirmed that “Albert Vaughan was covering the BML protest for the Belize Times and Positive Vibes radio.”
“We are out here in support of Albert Vaughan and also in support of the BML workers,” Fonseca said.
According to Fonseca, “Mr. Vaughan was standing across the street speaking on his phone and taking pictures.” “Yes, we accept that Mr. Vaughan is not a member of the press in that regard; we accept that he is a PUP activist, but he was doing his job on behalf of the People’s United Party,” said Fonseca.
Around 5:00 p.m., after spending most of the workday in police custody, Vaughan was released on a $200 station bail after he was charged with “loitering in a public place.”
Vaughan’s case has been set for Friday, August 8, when he is to be arraigned on the charge at the Magistrate’s Court.
In an interview with Amandala after he was released from police custody, Vaughan said that he was not a part of the protest.
Vaughan told Amandala that he has to speak to his attorney to determine whether he will bring legal action against the Police Department for violating his right to privacy.