On Thursday we spoke with Reverend Senator Ashley Rocke, who represents the churches in the Senate, during the Lunch with a Cop initiative launch at the Ramada Princess Hotel. In addition to getting lunch with a senior police officer, Rocke shared his personal experience meeting with cops at Queen Street Police Station following the untimely death by apparent suicide of Police Constable Edwardo Gonzalez earlier this week:
Rev. Senator Ashley Rocke, Senator Representing The Churches: I was privy to it because I got the text in the morning telling me that the man had shot himself, and then in the evening he died. So at about 6 the morning I went to the police station and I had a chance to spend with the guy talking about, trying to console, trying to bring spiritual guidance.
Rev. Senator Ashley Rocke, Senator Representing The Churches: Well as a senator I did not see the issue, the thing I saw was that the Prime Minister had a responsibility to make sure that he could do all that he could do to prevent whatever incident could have happened there with the Belizean People. I think that writing the SI was one of the ways that, if you were thinking of another way, that would have been the best way to do with the understanding that that is not ultimately going to restrict Belizeans from going to the Sarstoon, but was going to squelch the obvious disquiet that was there. I like the lawyer Marshalleck, I think he was the one who cautioned the PUP’s, the people that he represent, that there was a law. I think he was smart in doing that.
Reporter: Okay what about the point of going to the ICJ.
Rev. Senator Ashley Rocke, Senator Representing The Churches: I think that’s a good thing. I think we’ve been struggling with this thing for a long time. We’ve tried to set it by just talking to each other and it’s not working. I think going to the ICJ is going to bring a final settlement to this whole issue.
Rocke is a Baptist pastor and at the time of his appointment was selected by the rump portion of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches, which lost the great majority of its members to the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) in a schism over government of the organization. While he represents both church groups in the Senate, Rocke was careful to point out that some, but not all, of the evangelical churches share the Belize Council of Churches’ view on the dispute.