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Chester as Mediator with Stevedores

While the Labor Commissioner, Ivan Williams, was not present during the negotiation process, the other Williams, Chester Williams, was. We know him as the Superintendent Commanding Eastern Division South who has recently been called to the Bar. We would usually see him mediating between street gangs but during the past days, he has been mediating between the Stevedores and the Port of Belize Limited. We know that last night, a riot squad was on standby and after the negotiations today, we asked Williams is he thinks he was needed during the entire process.

Chester Williams: “I offered myself to both parties to be a mediator between them to facilitate a process with a view to see how we could arrive at some amicable solution moving forward in addressing the issues being faced by the stevedores.”

Reporter : As your capacity of a police officer one would think that you wound be here because of criminal activities that you would have perceived to have happened. Is that the case ?

Chester Williams: “I think that you all have to stop looking at police officers as persons who just come around to use brute force and try to resolve issues but I will try to police from a common sense perspective and I must say that the commissioner as well as the minister were also a part of the process in terms of giving guidance as to how we move forward. As an attorney I have training and experience as a mediator as part of out legal training and I use my experience and knowledge as a mediator to facilitate the process between both parties to try and arrive at a solution to the problem.”

Reporter: We heard last night that you had the riot squad on standby, we saw shields on the floor at the Raccoon Street police station. What’s up with that?

Chester Williams: “You must understand that in a situation where there is some degree of dispute or demonstration that is a part of the police standard operating procedures, we must always be in a state of readiness, it does not mean that we have those things in place that they will be used. We try to use diplomacy first before we decide to use any other means in resolving an issue.”

Reporter: Do you feel as though you were needed here ?

Chester Williams : “Yes I think my presence was needed to facilitate the process between the parties and as the mediator I would make suggestions, give the parties opportunity to lay their issues on the table and see how they could find a resolution to those issues and when they come at a deadlock then I would make suggestions and see how we could move forward.”

Williams says that he will not be involved during the entire negotiating process.