When I was young I used to hear my dad say of things that were far from the best but better than nothing at all, “it knocks nothing to hell.” I am told that the MoW (Ministry of Works) is doing measurements on the side of this crazy road passing through Camalote and they are doing it to put in a concrete sidewalk. Yes, that knocks nothing to hell.
I worry when I question the intelligence and/or integrity of others. I really don’t like it. The road passing through villages out here is a highway, not a city or town street. People naturally drive a little faster on highways than they do in a city or town, and there are the occasional mad persons in vehicles and on big motorbikes who disrespect our lives and speed through at 60 and 70 mph.
Drivers, by law and by common sense and by respect for other people, should travel more slowly in villages. However, a highway not being a dead end street, being continuous for miles and miles, there is no natural limitation on the speed one travels. There are idiots on the highway. There are drunks. There are drivers in vehicles that are not roadworthy. There are tired/sleepy drivers. There are angry drivers. There are despondent drivers. It is common sense, basic, that you don’t mix people with vehicles, especially on highways.
I can’t believe that our government leaders expect that village children will be safe on a sidewalk on the highway. That’s not a high wire over a ravine for an adult, but little children will be at serious risk when they walk on a narrow sidewalk to go to school, the shop, or the playground. Children will gaze, children will jaywalk, and children will lose their balance on their bicycles.
A sidewalk on a highway is far from ideal, and it is more expensive by far than the ideal, which is a pathway off the highway. This isn’t right. Our little dirt pathway, picado, was a thousand times more safe for children going to school, and for adults going to the ball park, or visiting, or going home from the club.
I have made a few contacts toward setting up a committee to look at what we can do in our village to mitigate the terrible injustice they have done to us, and after we’ve got ourselves organized we will expand to the other villages between the fantastic Hummingbird roundabout, near Roaring Creek, and Santa Elena.
My gudnis, the tragic motorcycle accidents never end. The Transport Department is not doing enough. I can say that because I read all the newspapers and I watch all the local television stations. I also look around when I’m on the bus, so I would see if there were signs out there to warn motorcyclists so that they keep alert. I read that Commissioner Williams was stepping up to cut down on motorcycle accidents. If he did, it isn’t working.
Apologies to Mr. Torres for calling him a city slicker. I was only kidding, Sir. I restate that you don’t talk road safety in villages as much as I do, but you put in your pound. The Transport Department should give you the job to prepare a motorcyclists’ safety strategy for the country.
On second thought, they should give me the job to prepare the strategy. The first thing I’d beat into the heads of motorcyclists is this: People in vehicles don’t see you. They really don’t.
Police dismissal rough
We understand why the police would want to send a message to their officers so that they become more humane in their dealings with the public, but the punishment in this case where they dismissed four officers for some very tragic behavior that led to the unfortunate, untimely death of a man, may be excessive¯because the sin they are paying for may be more ours, than theirs.
For many years the police were asked to make their detention centers more humane, especially since our law says we are innocent until a court of law deems otherwise, and it took an officer who had been detained to blow up the disgusting scene, the graphic pictures of life in detention, to get the department to fix things.
In Mr. Albert Ciego’s story on page 3 of the Tuesday, October 1, Amandala, he says the reports show that the officers saw the assault (on the gentleman who was killed) in the cell block on a monitor, saw when one man slammed another man’s head against the wall, and on the iron bars of the cell door. Didn’t these officers realize that one of the men was in grave danger?
I do not know what the officers were thinking when they put two guys who were behaving in an unstable manner in the same cell. I will say that many citizens have called out the police over reports that they made it modus operandi to drop off a fellow who is behaving poorly, in a neighborhood that had a beef with him. There are reports that young men have been killed because of this unofficial practice.
In the tragic case, the police put two men in a cell, and one of them had a savage mind and the other apparently didn’t. Both men in the tragic case were said to have been experiencing mental problems, and so the situation should have been handled differently. However, police officers would not know the difference between “mental” and “badness,” because on the surface there isn’t any. Police officers have no training to handle a person who is experiencing some mind issues.
The blame for what happened is on the people of Belize, and the government of Belize. We allowed them to spend the bulk of the PetroCaribe money on cement and steel for streets. Some of that money should have been spent directly on people.
It is absolutely incredible that Belize allows people to sleep on the streets. They call it freedom. Freedom to do what, pray? The only freedom there is to allow people to be degraded. Our country slides its responsibilities in too many areas. Every evening at six, officers of the people of Belize should patrol the streets and they should pick up every person who is making ready to sleep on the street and take them to a safe house in an enclosed yard where they get a nice supper, a good bath, clean pajamas and a nice, warm bed with clean sheets. The streets are not beds.
Belize’s big trouble is in leadership. Discipline, the one thing we should have learned from the British, we discarded.
When I was a young person I was told that the army does one of two things to a man: it makes him, or it breaks him. If you survive the army you are a disciplined person, or you are a shell, a zombie.
We train our police officers, and our leaders set the standards. It is for certain that the period at training school should be extended, and in lieu of that, emphasis should be heavy on continued training while an officer is in active service.
ComPol Williams said, “Cell block protocols were violated, and a mentally challenged detainee should not have been put in a cell with any other person.” The fact is that the police should not have been handling a mentally challenged person. People who work with persons going through mental issues have to be trained to the highest level. Such persons have to show great capacity to restrain themselves in trying situations, because if you handle people who are having mental issues you will be tested, to the extreme.
The family of the man who died has every reason to be angry, and all the families of persons who have been wronged by the police have every reason too, to be angry, but their anger must be directed at the state. The police’s response, dismissing the officers, I don’t think it is just. Fair enough, they should be punished, and they should also show contrition for what happened on their watch. But don’t lower the boom. The sin they are paying for is not all their own.