Belize Hosts Regional Police Chiefs and Directors Conference Focusing on Transnational Crime
Today marked the close of the 28th Ordinary General Assembly of the Chiefs and Directors of Police for Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Colombia. The two-day event was held at the Biltmore Plaza and was Belize’s first time as the host of such a conference. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said that the conference focused on how regional cooperation can address the issue of transnational crime. Williams said that they also held discussions on what police departments have achieved regionally over the last year and looked ahead to a plan for 2024.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We had a range of discussions on different issues pertaining to the security of the Central America, Mexico, Colombia and the Caribbean region. Discussions ranging from the issue of human trafficking, human smuggling, drug trafficking, cyber crime and other transnational organized crime. We reviewed our achievements for the year 2023 and I can tell you that we over-performed based on the results that we achieved. And we also discussed and put together a plan which is going to be the roadmap for 2024. Now, there is a lot that we need to get done to ensure that our respective countries and the region remain safe. We can look around the world and we see turmoil happening but we are still blessed to be living in a region where we can still say that it is peaceful.”
Williams, who was elected president of the President of the Commission of Chiefs of Police and Police Directors, said that the commission is internationally funded and says he has already identified a regional body he intends the commission to work with.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “And I know that the question was asked of the minister as it relates to the financial costs that is attached to the functions of the commission that I presently chair. Let me say that the work of the commission is fully financed by Interpol. So whatever operations or whatever policing plan that comes out of this commission is not going to be financed by Belize government but rather by Interpol. They are the ones who pay for this event and they also pay for whatever operations that we would conduct regionally and so we’re extremely grateful for that. We’re extremely grateful to have been the host of this conference. I also see it as police tourism because the truth is the conference did brought revenue into the country and the Belizean people are going to benefit from that. Going forward as the president I discussed with my members the importance of us partnering with other organizations such as SICA. We know SICA recently passed a provision where they are going to be looking at an operational arm within SICA to address the issues of transnational organized crime, which is one of our mandate of the commission. So we will see how we can work with SICA so as not to create a duplicity of work or efforts within the Central American region.”
Williams’s tenure as president will last for a year and a half.