Today, the manager of Temptation Bar, 62-year-old Honduran and naturalized Belizean, Mrs. Estela Gonzales was taken to court along with her 10 female employees, who were reportedly working at the establishment without a working permit.
This is the second shake down on Temptation Bar, located at Mile 10, on the George Price Highway. Yesterday’s bust occurred at about 9:30 p.m., and was carried out by a team of 3 police officers, an Immigration officer, 15 Officers from Anti- Drug Unit and 10 officers from the Mobile Interdiction Unit.
Two women were seen behind the bar and 10 other waitresses inside the establishment. They were asked for identification and two could not produce the requested documents.
This evening, proprietor of the bar, Mrs. Estela Gonzales and the women appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer. Gonzales, who was unrepresented was arraigned on 10 counts of employing a person not in possession of a valid temporary employment permit.
First up on arraignment was the manager, the senior citizen wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offenses and when asked in mitigation why she should not be send to jail, she said, “Well if you think I should go to jail.” That is when the Senior Magistrate told her that she needed to convince her why she should not send her to jail, after all the offense can carry a jail term of 2 years on each count of which then she is looking at 20 years. Gonzalez began to cry and said that, she is a diabetic and is very ill. She further told the court, “These people have needs, that’s why I hired them.” Magistrate Frazer informed her that that’s no reason to break the law and imposed a non-custodial sentence upon her in which she fined Gonzales $1,000 each on each counts. That’s a total of $10,000 of which she ordered her to pay forthwith in default 6 months imprisonment for each.
After her arraignment, 21 year old Honduran national Teresa Flores Guillen, along with Guatemalan national, 25 year old Alejandra Zenayda Mejia, were both charged for being deemed a prohibited immigrant in Belize. They were fined $1,000 forthwith, in default 6 months imprisonment. Removal orders were granted for both women, who will either be deported after paying their fines or serving jail time.
The third employee to be charged with an immigration offense was 27 year old, Rosemeili Juarez Mezon, who happens to be 23 weeks pregnant. The Dominican national was charged initially with failure to comply with a visitor’s permit. Mezon reportedly entered Belize on May 18, 2013 via the Belize Western Border Station and was granted a visitor’s permit with extension to remain legally in Belize until August 14, 2013 and she failed to comply with the conditions of her visitor’s permit.
Ms. Mezon too plead guilty to the offense and was also fine $1,000 in default 6 months jail time. Before being brought to court this afternoon, Mezon had to be taken to the hospital for treatment after fainting while in Immigration Custody.
In the case of Honduran national, 24 year old Suli Mariela Gonzalez Flores, no charges could be read to her today in court since her court book was not properly before the court. Her case was adjourned until Monday. Flores will remain in immigration custody for the weekend.