Belize’s central location makes it vulnerable to transnational organized crime. Despite support from the US State Department to combat the illicit drug trafficking, law enforcement still struggles with the drug war. Belize is among 22 countries identified as major illicit drug producing or transit nations by US President Donald Trump. According to Trump, Belize along with the twenty-one other countries, must redouble its efforts to rise to the challenge posed by the criminal organizations to reverse illicit drug production and trafficking. Acting Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, told the media that the problem has to do with Belize’s geographic location.
Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber: “The reason why drug planes see Belize as a target is because we are a small nation. We don’t have the ability to Police the borders in the manner in which we. It is evident that planes that land here and other trans-shipment that goes on passess through Belize in an effort to get to the United States. If we were not geographically located here that kind of trouble would not exist for us and so we must always remember that and keep that in mind and the government does its absolute best to try to ensure that our citizenry understands as well that that is not the way to go. We have tried to provide as you see many programs, we have a lot of programs now right here in the city; the Gateway program, The Lizama Skills Training Center that offer positive alternatives. Many of them are undersubscribed because simply put the gang world and the drug world seems to be more attractive than those options that are offered to them but that does not mean we should give up. We should continue on a daily basis and that is what we have done especially under Prime Minister Barrow and this administration to try to ensure that our citizenry understand that there is a better way of doing things, that there is a better way of surviving out here.”
Several drug planes have landed in Belize since the beginning of this year. However, their contents and those involved usually vanish long before law enforcement officials arrive on the scene. Nonetheless, the police in an operation aided by the BDF and Coastguard were able to intercept the most recent drug plane; arrest several persons and confiscate the drugs. Yesterday, five men, including two police officers, were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford in connection with the drug plane. Faber told the media that he is saddened over the situation.
Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber: “I think it was Commissioner Whylie who said they are good cops and bad cops even in our own families there are some family members that are wayward and some that are doing the right things. This is how it is, once they are human beings involved in any entity there will be that element of wrongdoing at times and so it puts a really black eye on the Police if that is indeed the case. I believe that people are innocent until proven guilty but I believe that if it is that Police officers especially the kind of senior ranking Police officers that we have been hearing about are involved in that then that is indeed sad and in fact we ought to be taking measures against such officers who are giving the department a black eye.”
The two officers are Senior Superintendent David Chi and PC Norman Anthony.