Wed. Nov. 28, 2018
In your November 23 issue, there were two tragedies on the front page. One was a tragic murder-suicide, right in PG; the other was the death by heart attack of a Stella Maris teacher, after her arrest at work, for a BZ $2,000 unpaid fine.
In the Stella Maris case, I am saddened by the retention of a ‘debtors’ prison’ law in Belize. How can sending a person to jail, with loss of income and perhaps one’s job, possibly help the debtor to pay his/her debt? I have visions of a poor parent languishing in prison in Medieval times, their family starving, until they sold themselves and their families into slavery to pay the debt. In Canada, creditors can garner wages, seize assets or the debtor can make an offer of partial payment (consumer proposal). But, there is no debtors’ prison. (I shudder at the thought.)
Could ‘court-imposed imprisonment for unpaid debt be an area that legislators could look at, to prevent the perversion of justice that occurred at Stella Maris? And may people be warned of the dangers of borrowing from a loan shark, in Belize?
My condolences to the family of Ruth Ferguson, Special Needs teacher.