By Wellington C. Ramos
In Belize, the head of every governmental department has the right to transfer any of the people who work under him or her in the best interests of his or her department. However, there are many times when transfers are done by the heads of departments in Belize because their supervisors did not like the person working under them, racism, insecurity, jealousy, ulterior motives and other unjustifiable reasons.
Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History
I was a member of the Belize Police Force for five years and I witnessed male police officers who were transferred because the senior ranking officers wanted to have an affair with their wives or were having an affair with a woman the senior ranking officer was having an affair with or wanted to have an affair with. Female police officers were transferred because they refused to have an affair with senior ranking police officers and police officers who were investigating a case against one of the senior officer’s friends, relatives or business owner.
When these police officers tried to fight the transfer or transfers, the commissioner of police would not even listen to his or her complaint because he was a friend of the senior ranking officers that he promoted. One of the main reasons why I left the Belize Police Force is because this happened to me in 1978 and I am sure some of these things are still happening today in the Belize Police Force.
I was to go on my three months vacation in July of that year. In January I received a transfer to San Pedro Ambergris Cay and I told my then supervisor that I would prefer to have the transfer take effect when I returned from my three months leave. The year before, I was abruptly transferred from Orange Walk to Patrol Branch in Belize City and then again to Hattieville to be responsible for all the neighbouring villages.
I was against going to San Pedro Ambergris Cay at the time so I went to the Premier George Cadle Price to file a complaint and he said that he cannot help me and that I should go to his Minister Lindy Rogers who was responsible for the Police Department. None of them helped me so I went to San Pedro Ambergris Cay on a Friday.
On the Saturday, the corporal of police, Smith, who was in command of the village and myself went to file a complaint to the late minister Louis Sylvester. He got on the phone and intervened on our behalf because a transfer at the time was inconvenient for both of us. He spoke to the then commissioner of police Esmond Willoughby at the time and gave him a piece of his mind. Imagine, the premier and the minister who was responsible for the police force at the time Carl Linbergh Rogers could not help us but the minister of communications did.
When I spoke to Corporal Smith, he told me that the senior ranking officer was transferring him because he arrested a wife of the senior officer's friend a couple months before and he wanted the corporal to drop the charges against the woman but he refused.
I left San Pedro that same day after the commissioner of police canceled our transfers and a few months after I came to the United States on my three months vacation. I was talking to a nurse recently in Belize who was having a problem with a promotion and a transfer to another area where there are a lot of problems with the Belize governmental departments. The story she gave me is one that is ongoing in all the government departments in Belize today.
Many of the promotions in Belize are caused by the same problems outlined earlier that cause the transfers. Our government should find a solution to departmental transfers and promotions that are free from hate, race, bias, prejudice, grudge, envy and vindictiveness.
I do not know who assistant superintendent of police Chris Noble is. Neither do I know what he did for him to warrant such treatment by the police force. From the press releases I have been reading, he seems to have a difficult job in an area that is plagued with serious crimes but was coping well.
If he thinks that the treatment given to him by the commissioner of police is unlawful, then he should get an attorney and bring a case against the commissioner of police and the Belize Police Force before the Police Board and the Civil Service Commission. If he does not get a remedy there, the courts are available to him to go even further to seek justice.
If he does nothing he will be doing more harm, a disservice to himself and the others who are currently in the Belize Police Force and the government service.