Guyanese attorney, Dinellie Hawk has been hired by the Belizean government as the Central American country moves to improve the effectiveness of its police department’s investigative and prosecutorial abilities.
Hawk will be advising the Minister of the Police and Public Safety and the Commissioner of Police as well as offering legal advice at every level within the police department including matters regarding disciplinary procedures, The Guardian newspaper in Belize reported.
In an interview with The Guardian, Hawk explained that her responsibilities arch across every legal aspect within the police department. Other duties will see her doing legal work for the department as well as sitting on the legal reform sub-committee. The former prosecutor will also train police prosecutors and investigators as well as prosecute high profile cases.
While the job description is wide ranging and somewhat daunting, Hawk said the areas of priority within the department are those of prosecutions and investigations. “We cannot have successful prosecutions and convictions without successful investigations,” she explained.
The Guardian reported that the efforts at improving the two branches of the department will see training programmes put in place to rectify the problems. Prosecutions have been identified as a high priority area and Hawk explained that after investigations are competently carried out; it is expected that the last link of the chain (prosecutions) must be strong enough to get the result needed: conviction. That cannot happen if the prosecutors are not properly trained, she said.
Hawk told The Guardian that her superiors have recognized that she has an overwhelming task and are looking at strengthening her department by either employing another legal representative or identifying an officer from within the unit to assist her.