Belize Police Department Prepares for Elections in the Police Association
The Belize Police Department is gearing up to elect a new executive for the Belize Police Association. The department is accepting nominations for slates and aims to finalize the selection of potential candidates by the end of this month. Yesterday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams spoke about the upcoming elections and the issue of fees that has been brought up by members.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “At this time we are accepting nomination for candidates who may wish to vie for being members of that association. The closing date for nomination I believe is the end of this month. After which if there is only one slate that would seek nomination then that slate is endorsed but if it’s more than one then we have to go to an election and that election is normally held in January. In terms of your second question at this time the association is not in the practice of collecting fees from members. I do agree that over the past few years there may have been a number of funds collected by way of membership fees from the members and those monies should be in an account. We’re still waiting for the account to be audited after which then if the association so wishes they may resort to going back to collecting fees from members. Let me say that that has nothing to do with the commissioner. That’s a total separate account from the consolidated trust that the Commissioner would control when it comes to the police budget. So like I said whoever is elected chair of that association when the time comes they will have to do consultation with their members to see what route they’d want to go in terms of collecting fees or not collecting a fee.”
Williams also discussed welfare concerns brought up by members of the association and says the department is doing its best to assist officers who are in need.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We do have a wellfare office in Belmopan that is led by Superintendent Sherlet Ramclam and whenever she is unable to deal with any wellfare issue then it comes to me and I would find a way to deal with it. There are some issues currently with police officers who were victims of fire. We have officers who were victims of I think the last flood we had the Hurricane Lisa and while we had helped some of them in terms of giving them a grant we have not been able to help all of them but we’re still trying to see when we can deal with the whole issue of the consolidation of the police trust fund because when it comes to police officers who are victims of fire or flood what my policy has always been since I became commissioner is to give them a grant as opposed to a loan and while I have approved or made recommendation to the subcommittee of the trust fund to approve the loan or the grant to those officers we have not been able to disperse the approved funds to them because we need to consolidate that account. So we’re hoping that within the next few weeks we should be able to do that and those officers would be able to get what is entitled to them.”