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Saturday, January 22, 2022
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Life or culprit

The first report I heard about the tragic murders in San Ignacio last week was that after the police went to look for the culprit, they then picked up the wounded girl and her mother and rushed them to the hospital. The Amandala report is not that dissimilar. That report said the police saw the two victims “both awash in blood inside the bedroom of the home, both apparently dead”, and “upon making checks” they “discovered that Natzia was still alive and rushed the two to the Western Regional Hospital…”

For some time I have had a problem with the way police handle incidents that involve seriously injured people. I once asked an ex-policeman why the police didn’t rush seriously injured people to the hospital when they arrived on the scene of an RTA. I’m sure when he said police get special pay for picking up dead bodies, he wasn’t implying anything.

Some years ago, BERT (Belize Emergency Response Team) had a whole series on accident management, and we came away from that realizing that special expertise is needed to move an injured person. We were told that sometimes the actual moving of the wounded causes more harm than the original injury. Those of us who follow sports on television see the extreme care given to the head and neck of injured players. But those are rarely life and death situations. A primary concern there is to protect the valuable property, literally.

In situations where people suffer serious injuries, where people are bleeding heavily, every second counts. In such situations waiting 15 minutes for an ambulance is crazy. I have a few questions. Are all police very well-trained in delivering first aid? They should be. Were any of the police officers who went to the scene trained to distinguish a living person from a dead one? How long were the woman and her daughter lying there before they transported them to the hospital?

Our grief might be increased if we knew what all took place in the seconds and minutes immediately after the wounded mother and daughter were found. We can’t turn back the clock. We lost both of the victims, but we still need to know what transpired when the police arrived.

We all want the culprit or culprits to pay for their crime, but saving a life or lives is a thousand times more important than catching the culprit, who will get off in court anyway, if they still care to live and can afford a good lawyer.

Zeroing in on the culprit or culprits, there are a number of scenarios, but the most likely one is an extremely jealous man with an uncontrollable temper, and the girl got fatally slashed while trying to defend her mom.

We know the lawyers are already looking at angles to save the freedom of the accused if/when he is reeled in by the police, if they are fortunate to get the case. Lawyers get their kicks from beating the courts. It’s hard, but we have to be real; it’s what those bohgaz trained for. Okay, prosecutors are believed to get a similar high, from nailing people.

They in the legal brotherhood play their games. We must take care of ourselves. Janus said we must handle murder cases differently, and I said there can be no technical escapes, that there should be a holding house for all accused who don’t have more than a technical excuse.

Our country is crying out for some serious forensics capacity to help us bring culprits to justice. In Belize we are tired, frustrated, and angry about our national failure in dealing with these horrible crimes.

Not with Henry

First, the PSU president complained about the government paying off the David Vega bill. Most Belizeans shared in the Vega family’s sorrow when he succumbed to Covid-19 after receiving specialist care at a private hospital. Mr. Vega became a part of the national consciousness after his victory in the general elections in Corozal Bay, but before he could be sworn in, tragically he died.

When he was asked about the government paying Vega’s humongous hospital bill, the Minister of Health and Wellness said it was a Ministry of Finance issue. Then we got a report from the Ministry of Finance, or someone in the office of the Financial Secretary, that the bill was paid by the government because winning politicians, even their children, are covered by government insurance.

Love FM interviewed the PSU prez, and he said there is no insurance coverage for ministers or public officers if they get Covid. Hon. Henry Usher, in his response to the PSU prez, went for our hearts. Henry spoke of the terrible tragedy, “a family that almost lost a father and a mother”. He then ran off on some complaints that were made about the size of our delegation to COP26, and then he rambled about Dean Barrow’s costly secret meeting in Miami. Henry said that Barrow meeting is the kind of thing the PSU should be railing about, instead of the government “paying a bill for the Honorable David Vega, a man who served his constituency…unfortunately he passed away from COVID…his children almost lost their mother as well.” Henry then said: “It hurts me to think that the PSU would be harping on that (the GOB paying off the Vega bill).”

We can’t assume that there isn’t an insurance policy because Henry didn’t mention it, but if there isn’t, if all the government has to go on is compassion for one of their brothers, they are off base to think they are legit. Like I said, a lot of us cried over the loss of David, but paying off bills at the private hospital is another matter.

Now, I believe that if politicians are going to engage in the entitlement game, it is best that they “be honest” about it, because it costs the country a lot less. I believe in being practical. They have the power, and they are in a position to do a lot of things they shouldn’t, even if the UNCAC is looking over their shoulder.

It isn’t fair for the government to call the PSU callous for hollering foul over this payment. A matter like this has to be viewed on a straight line, and on a straight line, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Only those of us who have had a loved one suffer from Covid, and couldn’t find the money to pay for the extra special care, have license to give the government a pass. I bet they are not happy with Henry’s position.

Ah, I “like” the bayr face way the PUP went about it. They could have gone about ensuring their colleague’s family got taken care of through still legal nepotistic means, some of which could have cost public coffers a lot more than the hundred thousand plus that we paid the private hospital.

The PUP way is a lot cheaper than the roundabout way the UDP took care of PM Barrow’s boy. Barrow gave his son a fat plum. If it really was over a need of trust, and he couldn’t find such a person at BTL so he needed the eyes of his son Anwar to protect the bold acquisition, for the people, it was well enough that he sneaked him on the Board.

The PUP could have “nepotized” a Vega family member, put them in a position through which they could earn the funds to pay off that humongous bill, and Braa, that could have cost us ten times what we paid out. So, we have to be grateful for the small mercy. But no, Henry can’t justify it, and ih daam faysi fu call out anyone, call people callous—because with this Cabinet entitlement, the emperor is as naked as the day ih baan.

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