Belize Considers Increased Funding to Combat Narco-Influence in San Pedro

Belize Considers Increased Funding to Combat Narco-Influence in San Pedro

The intense drug war on La Isla Bonita may result in the need for more taxpayers’ dollars to fight the growing influence of narcos, according to Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa. In June, the government allocated an additional one million dollars to the Belize Police Department, to assist with its fight against narco-trafficking in northern Belize. Since then, the police have been able to carry out numerous operations and believe there has been a decrease in narco-activity up north. However, Musa says that an uptick in violent crimes on Ambergris Caye related to the drug trade may result in the need for more money to fight the growing threat on San Pedro’s beaches. 

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “The chances of that are very high Vejea. Yes.”

Reporter: So any amount has a dollar value? 

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “No, no, no. That has to, that requires a complete assessment of the resources currently on San Pedro. I do know and I acknowledge the efforts of our area representative in San Pedro who contributed with a vessel on the last occasion. The Ministry of Tourism contributed with ATVs and UTVs for the island. And also, like I said, we had the contribution of both tourism and the area representative in the construction of the police booth in North San Pedro. But again, perhaps it requires greater personnel and more investments to be made. So that’s something that we’ll be looking at.”

On Monday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams explained the difficulty of fighting the narcos’ influence on the island and the need for more patrols on the island’s waters.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We do know that there is the issue with the playadores in North Ambergris Caye and that was one of the reasons why we had set up the Forward Operating Base on Northern Ambergris Caye where we currently have it and then we also have the Coast Guard base which is much more up from where we have our base and you would know again because we always release this information to the media that on numerous occasions the police have four parcels of drugs in that channel on North Ambergris Caye and those drugs have always revealed to be cocaine except for one instance where the parcel was cannabis. But we constantly conduct patrols along that area targeting the playadores all in a view to prevent them from finding or walking the beach and looking for drugs but again the police cannot live on the beaches and so they would take opportunities when police are not conducting patrols to go and search.”

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