Hijacking protests Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:00

The protest against granting of bail to David and Anke Doehm , the two American adopted parents, of the dead American child Faye Lin Cannon, has now gotten political. On Friday while the couple were in court, appearing before Justice Hanamansingh, a small crowd of residents from San Pedro Ambergris Caye had gathered outside of the Supreme Court to make their displeasure known, about the fact that, there was the possibility that the couple could be granted bail. Under our laws persons who are charged for criminal offence(s) are guaranteed the right to apply for bail and to be given such bail. If said persons can satisfy the court  that they will show up to court to face trial. However some of the protesters sounded like they would have preferred if the two accused persons were just sent to prison without even a trial. They sounded like they wanted them to be punished even though they were not convicted or even tried for any crime.

As has becomed the norm in Belize this protest was hijacked by the usual political figures who are always trying to pass themselves off as civil rights activists. We won’t even call their names to give them any time in the spotlight. Those said persons have taken over what was at it’s inception a genuine movement that was started out of a genuine concern from residents /neighbours of the San Pedro couple and their children. Some of the comments we heard on Friday were overtly political. We think they had absolutely nothing to do with the issues at hand. The genuine innocent protesters were cheated out of advancing their issues. One of the political activists who spoke to the media said, “She was found in her parents house, murdered. Where is the murder charge? If those people get bail today it’s going to make things worse because this is not going to stop, we will not stop. We will gather Belize one at a time, until they see the need to do something. We either shut this government down, call for re-registration, for a new election, but something has to be done. Our voices will not be quiet.”

We at the Guardian Newspaper don’t know what a person (s) being charged or not for murder, or getting bail or not getting bail for a charge has to do with  the government?  It is not the government that lays criminal charges against individuals. The DPP is the constitutionally mandated person who decides whether or not to lay charges against person(s), as mandated in section 50(2) of the Belize Constitution. The situation of whether or not a person is granted bail is the prerogative of the court. The EXECUTIVE has nothing to do with either the laying of charges or the granting of bail . There is a separation of power and we in the UDP respect that separation of powers. The Doehms like any other person in this country who is charged for a criminal offence are entitled to due process. That due process includes the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to defend themselves in court, the right to apply for bail, and being granted bail along with a few other rights. Every Friday we see many other persons, go to the Supreme Court and apply for bail like David and Anke Doehm, did on Friday. Some of those persons include persons who have been accused of all sorts of crimes, including some of the most heinous crimes, that are alleged to have been committed against children, but on those occasions we don’t see the political activists out in front of the court protesting or should we say making political statements . We say let justice take it’s course, if these people did wrong give them their day in court.