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An open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State

LettersAn open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State

Letter to the Editor:

Please share my open letter to the United States Secretary of State with your readers.

Secretary Tillerson: I write to you as President Trump has yet to appoint an Ambassador to Belize. In a democracy when the government does wrong it is the responsibility of the citizen to speak. Thus I request you review diplomatic immunity for U.S. Army Captain Justin Guidry. The military officer was involved in an October 7th traffic accident near Belize City that killed Samantha and Deanna Castillo and Martha Vasquez.

According to news media accounts, witnesses claim Captain Guidry was both speeding and passing on a curve when the head-on collision occurred. Guidry was whisked from the accident scene and avoided a blood-alcohol test by Belize authorities. Guidry was quickly transferred out of Belize purportedly with a claim of diplomatic immunity thus escaping any charges or liability that might arise from the traffic accident.

As an American living in Belize I am appalled at such a response by the State Department, abandoning the rule of law and severely damaging the goodwill of the Belizean people. Belizeans may believe the U.S. claim that Captain Guidry should have diplomatic immunity to avoid answering for reckless driving but I don’t. That kind of arrogant injustice is not what is taught in American schools.

I looked up “diplomatic immunity” in my college textbook, The International Relations Dictionary and Captain Guidry fails the definition. “Consular officers do not have diplomatic status, but because of their functions, may by law, treaty and usage enjoy privileges not granted to other aliens.”

“In the interest of good relations between countries the granting of privileges and immunities also implies a responsibility for the diplomat to obey the laws and regulations of the host country. If the conduct of a diplomat is unacceptable, his own government may be requested to recall him or waive his immunity so that he can be subjected to civil or criminal process.”

I am quite sure that there was nothing in Captain Guidry’s “diplomatic” duties that included reckless driving on the Western Highway and he should not enjoy special treatment. It is important to defend the rule of the law and equal treatment for all. Let the Belize Police conduct their accident investigation, unfettered by unwarranted diplomatic immunity.

Michael Richardson
Cristo Rey, Cayo

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