The Coast Guard officer who detained and essentially humiliated Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit last Saturday has been demoted.
Following disciplinary hearing at the Belize National Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday petty officer Ogaldez was demoted to the rank of seaman.
Skerrit had arrived in Belize last Wednesday as the honoured guest of the Government of Belize for festivities honoring the 32nd anniversary of Belize’s Independence.
After addressing the official Independence ceremonies in Belmopan, Hon. Skerrit was escorted by officials of the Belize Tourism Board, a protocol officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Police Special Branch escort and his own security on a visit to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and Shark Ray Alley at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
A Coast Guard vessel was to have escorted the BTB boat to the caye, but arrived late and did not rendezvous with the BTB vessel until it was returning from Hol Chan.
Ogaldez pulled up the Coast Guard vessel alongside the BTB boat, tied up and then boarded the BTB boat.
The BTB officials hastened to inform him that they were transporting a visiting dignitary.
Ogaldez reportedly asked who was the Prime Minister, and Skerrit identified himself, but Ogaldez took no heed, and proceeded to obtain the particulars of all the boats occupants.
Ogaldez did not stand down until someone had the presence of mind to call the secretary of Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia, who instructed him to stand down.
He then allowed the BTB boat to proceed
After the encounter, Skerrit cancelled the rest of his tour and returned to his hotel.