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Honduras' Police: Monster of a Thousand Heads?

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In an interview with a reporter from Proceso Digital newspaper on Friday, Honduras' "Super Minister" of Defense and Security Arturo Corrales was asked the question, "International experts have described [Honduras'] police as a 'monster of a thousand heads'. What is your evaluation?"

Minister Corrales' response was: "First of all, there were many problems, but there was never a monster. I can say this now that I'm on the inside. That is why I accepted [the position as Minister of Defense and Security] from the president, because all of us talk about the problems of the police and the security of the country, and we say what should be done and what should not be done... and there comes a time in life when you say to yourself, 'Well, then do it.'"

He added, "And that was my reflection, and so we are working to build -- I didn't come to the police, the Ministry of Security to contribute to the security of my country as Minister of Defense and Security as an auditor. I came as an architect of the future, as a builder of a better present and future for the country and for everyone's security, for the common good of the nation, for the dignity of the human person. So [the police] was neither a 'monster of a thousand heads', nor was it a bed of roses."

Yeah, yeah... yada yada yada. It all sounds very nice and peachy Mr. Corrales. But before you get too far along in the design and building phases, you may want to rethink the whole auditor thing, because you're not going to get very far if you cannot manage the basic responsibility of paying your police -- both the regular ones and the so-called TIGERS and community police you're preparing to deploy in the next few weeks -- the wages they are owed.

Last week, a number of police officers blocked traffic with their vehicles in Tegucigalpa protesting the fact that more than 2,700 officers nationwide had not be paid for 45 days. That's roughly one-quarter of the entire police force. In April, some 300 officers went on strike in Tegucigalpa because they and others had not been paid for months and had not been granted the pay raise they had long been promised.

What is it about paying your employees on time, every time, that you cannot seem to get? What is the point of spending more money to hire and train more security personnel when you cannot even pay the people you have? By neglecting to pay your people, you disrespect them. When you continually disrespect people, what you end up doing is outraging them to the point that they may indeed turn into multi-headed monsters.

By not fulfilling your end of the agreement and paying officers what they deserve, you risk transforming good officers into bad. The onus is on your head, sir.