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Court tells President of Police Association to report to duty Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 10 May 2019 00:00

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and President of the Belize Police Association Corporal Eldon Arzu were in the courtroom of Justice Shona Griffith on Monday, May 6, 2019. Cpl. Arzu is seeking Judicial Review of the Commissioner’s decision to limit the term of office any person can serve as president of the Police Association. Arzu has held that position for 4 consecutive terms and is refusing to comply with instructions.

Since Arzu is failing to comply, his salary has been frozen. Cpl. Arzu was transferred to Belmopan in 2019 and has not reported for duty since that transfer. COMPOL Williams, an attorney himself, says that it is logical: no officer, or anyone else for that matter, can be paid for services not rendered.

Arzu’s attorney, Stacey Grinage, filed three applications on his behalf. First, they are seeking leave for judicial review of the validity of Arzu’s office as the duly elected president of the association, injunctions in respect to Arzu’s transfer, and a third on behalf of his suspended salary. While Justice Griffith saw grounds for judicial review, the other two applications were denied. He was ordered to report to work immediately and the COMPOL said that he was expected to show up either the same day or the day after. His salary will be activated when he reports to work.

The matter is expected to commence between July 22 and 23, 2019. COMPOL says that Justice Griffith holds the opinion that while the police department is a public service entity, the standard of service in the police department or the military is different than the ordinary public service. As such, in the event that a lawful command is given, members are expected to comply with the lawful instructions. Should that member be of the opinion that that instruction is not in their best interest, the matter can be taken before the court to determine the reasonability of the instruction.

Of note is that in the policing discipline, five days of absence equals to an abandonment of a post and that officer can be laid off summarily by the COMPOL.