Caye Caulker, Belize – How (not) to go to jail?

Once upon a time, on Caye Caulker island in Belize, I experienced how it feels like to be arrested. For nothing.

I was sitting on a terrace of my hostel and chatting online with a friend that shared a terrible story with me. She was almost raped in Guatemala city that day. Terrible! She ran away, but she was in shock so she wanted to talk about it. I was totally immersed in the conversation and tried to calm her down. In the meantime, some guys from my hostel sat around me and they were in a great mood. One of them sat on a fence of the hostel’s terrace and started rolling a joint. I didn’t pay attention to what was going on around me and I didn’t really care about what they were doing. Suddenly the guy who was rolling the joint was gone. I looked up and I saw a policeman looking at me. “Lady, is this yours?” “No.” I replied and continued chatting with my friend. Her story was much more important than someone’s ganja. “Lady, who is the owner of this here?” “I don’t know.” I didn’t even know the guys name, and I felt like I had nothing to do with it, so I didn’t want to be bothered. “You have to go with me. You are the closest to this marihuana here, so until we find the person who was here before, I can’t let you go,” said the policeman. “What? I have no idea who was that guy. I’m just on my computer here, I have nothing to do with it.” “Until we’ll find the person, you have to stay with me lady. Let’s go to the police station.” At this point I was still reluctant to go, but on the other hand I knew that I had nothing to hide and I didn’t want to get into a conflict because of someone else’s stupidity. I asked the girls that were around me to witness that it was not my marihuana and they did so. It didn’t help and the policeman told them that they should be quite, because he will arrest them for disrespect. I “love” policeman like that.

Bella's backpackers

Bella’s backpackers

While walking to the police station, we met the owners of the hostel and they said that I should take it easy and it will be solved. I guess that the policeman knew from the beginning that it was not mine, he just wanted to use me to find the guy. It was not a pleasant situation for me, because I had no interest of accusing someone and sending him to jail… on the other hand, I thought like this: why did he involve me in his smoking activity, by being so in-discrete and smoking on a hostel terrace that faces the street where he can be seen by everyone? And then, when he saw the policeman he ran away without saying a word and left all “material” next to me?

The police station was very simple. “I don’t want to ruin your vacation, lady, I just need your help. Let’s go to find the guy,” said the policeman. We walked out of the police station and now comes the most unbelievable part of the story! The “missing” guy was sitting in the first nearest restaurant from the police station and he was having a good time with his friends. The policeman noticed the group and I witnessed that it was him. The guy was shocked when the policeman approached him and told him to follow him to the police station. Finally, he went with the policeman and I was free again.

Police station on Caye Caulker. Check the sign!

Police station on Caye Caulker. Check the sign!

I stayed with the group of people from my hostel and waited until the guy came back from the police station. He said that they put him in jail for 10 minutes. It was a dark room and the purpose was to scare him a bit more. The real purpose was to get a bribe from him. It cost him 50USD to get out of the jail.

This story ended with a happy end. The dealer sold his stuff, the policeman made some extra money and the guy had a nice lesson for his life. I was innocently in all of this, observing the situation and it made me think about it. That’s why I’m sharing this story with all of you.

I believe that everyone is free to do whatever makes him/her happy, unless he affects other people’s lives. The guy was so not discrete about his “illegal activity” (yes, drugs are illegal in Belize), he ran away and he didn’t want to take the responsibility from the beginning. He was young and he learned his lesson, we shook hands afterwards. The policeman instead of arresting a real dealer focuses on tourists because he knows that they will give him some extra cash. You should consider this message before you “enjoy” your life in Belize.

My final message is that Caye Caulker “Go slow island” seems like a very relaxed place. The truth is that lot of people there want to take advantage of tourists. That’s my opinion and I wish everyone a great stay on this beautiful island.

Go slow is the slogan of this island

Go slow is the slogan of this island

2 Comments on “Caye Caulker, Belize – How (not) to go to jail?

  1. I loved your story…. Good luck for your trip!!! 😉

    • thanks Rui! it was a funny experience. but I don’t want to experience it anymore 🙂

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