The news of the murder of Gerald ‘Shiny’ Tillett spread around the country late Saturday night and led the police to be on high alert for the chance of any possible retaliation. The hours that would follow Tillett’s murder had the authorities in the old capital, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, taking preventative measures in all areas of the city. Yesterday he spoke with our colleagues at Krem News of what those measures were and why.
“Some of those measures that we put in place since last night is basically to beef up our police presence in the known gang areas. We are also increasing our stop and searches, we are targeting tinted vehicles, vehicles without license plates, all of those will be targeted by the police and last night what we also did was to close down the Chinese stores at 9pm to minimize the amount of persons who would be out on the streets and I know it is something that people are not happy with but at the end of the day as police we must take certain measures to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. The more the stores remain open the more people it attracts to the street and more it also attracts crime so that is what we did last night. As it also relates to the nightclub we also closed the night clubs down at 12pm last night. We still allowed people a latitude to go out and have fun. I want to assure the people of Belize City that this is not something that will be done forever but until things can come back to normalcy. Basically we are ensuring the safety and security of our citizens in Belize City. We want to assure the residents of Belize City that from a police standpoint we will do what we need to do to maintain law and order not only on South Side Belize City but across the city of Belize and I am sure the commissioner is also in dialogue with the other commanders across the country to do similar things in their respective jurisdiction to maintain peace within the area. Yes there are concerns from people but we want to assure them that we will do what we need to do to ensure that they remain safe in their respective communities.”
While Williams did admit to the shutting down of clubs and establishments as a preventative measure, Senior Superintendent Alden Dawson told the media that these measures have been taking place prior to Tillett’s murder.
“There is no such thing as the city being on lockdown. We embarked on the liquor license act since last week prior to this incident where we are having the shops close at 9pm because their license are only good up until 9pm and we find that a lot of these shops remain opened at night and these are some of the things that attract people to be out.”
“But there were two nightclubs that the police came and locked down, you had Dinos who had an extension for up to 4am that morning, they were locked down at 12:20 on Saturday night and then you had Thirsty Thursday who was supposed to close at 2am and they were locked down just after midnight.”
“I don’t know about that, that’s on the north side I have no knowledge of those clubs being closed and for what reason.”
As Williams mentioned, the preventative measures will continue indefinitely.