The mercy extended to the workers of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) earlier this week was not in evidence for Freetown constituency chairman and PUP talk show host and activist Albert Vaughan. The 54 year old is accused of loitering on Queen Street, Belize City, during the detention of BML workers, after their garbage-strewing impromptu protest in front of City Hall on North Front Street on Monday, August 4. He appeared in court today before Magistrate Herbert Panton, accompanied by attorney Kareem Musa, and pleaded not guilty. Mr Vaughan was released on bail of $100 on his own recognizance, that is, without need of a surety. This afternoon we spoke with Albert Vaughan’s attorney Kareem Musa, and asked him to explain the loitering charge.
“Mr Vaughn was outside of the Queen Street Police Station, along with hundreds of other people. He was out there with a lot of other people, and he was singled out.
There were other media people there, you know, but they weren’t singled out, but the top brass found it necessary to go and warn him to move, which he did. He did move from where he was, [to the other side of the street]. And then, again, the top brass singled him out and said, ‘Go get him, and bring him back so we can detain him.’ So it was a clear case of political victimization that took [place out there on Monday.
[There was] no reason at all [to bring him in]. I think he was actually on his phone. So now the offence was, I don’t know, being on his phone,. Is that a new offence that they’re trying to create, along with their bells and their lights?”
So do the police have a case? Kareem Musa believes not so, but says that doesn’t mean that they will give up either.
“I don’t believe that the police will have their evidence, primarily because I don’t believe they have a case against Albert Vaughn. I think that there will just be a lot of procrastination that will be taking place. This matter will probably drag on for another six or seven months, before it is eventually thrown out. I believe that at the end of the day, Albert Vaughn will be vindicated of the huge charge of loitering in a public place. Man, if the police Department had as much as a fraction of the vigor and the effort and the energy that they’re putting into prosecuting Albert Vaughn for loitering, if they had a fraction of that energy and they put that into the Elvin Penners, and they put that into the Edmund Castros, and the Mark Kings, I am telling you that the Prime Minister will probably have to have his Cabinet Meetings at the Hattieville Prison.”
Albert Vaughan returns to court on October 7.