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Commissioner of Police on Crime Situation in the City

A group of young persons behaving suspiciously on Blue Marlin Drive, Belize City was arrested by Police after a search was conducted. Police Commissioner Chester Williams briefed the media on the incident.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Police were patrolling in the Blue Marlin Drive area when they saw a group of young men who were acting suspiciously in a vehicle. That led the police to pursue them and during the pursuit they fired shots at the police and the police returned fire and were able to intercept them. Thankfully nobody was injured during the process but police were able to recover the firearm that was used and the persons concerned are detained and will be charged by the police for the firearm related offences.”

Another bust was made this week at a checkpoint. The incident involved a nurse out west and an unemployed person from Belize City. The Commissioner of Police told the media that the duo would be going to court on Monday.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I can tell you that last night the police conducted a check point on the Philip Goldson Highway and they stopped and searched a red pick up truck. Inside that vehicle were two persons, a male and a female. The female indeed happened to be a nurse from Camalote Village as well as the male who is from that area. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of two firearms and a number of ammunition. Also found was 157 grams of cannabis so those two individuals I believe by now have been charged by police and will be going before the court on Monday.”

An allegation against the Police Commissioner was made saying that he had a police officer released after he allegedly opened fire on a family. No one was injured in the matter. The officer, Police Constable Garcia was released from custody.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We always come with some cynical story or whatever. You always want to make it seem as if the police or as if I am not doing what should be done. Many can say that the police have been very lenient to you and what makes you different from any ordinary man.”

Reporter: Sir I didn’t fired on a civilian sir. Sir you’re full of false analogy sir. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: No man let me finish what I’m saying. We work based on information. I believe that Mr.Romero did in fact address that matter on Monday. I had said then that I was not going to address the matter because Romero has more intimate knowledge as to how the investigation was going so I don’t understand how you come to me.

Reporter: But is it not you who –

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Hold on let me answer you. You are asking the questions, I’m answering you give me a chance. Now if it is that the people who were involved who were in this vehicle have said to the police, the investigators not me, that they do not wish to proceed with the matter then what do you expect me to do ? I had already given instruction to CIB to have charged the police man for wounding because injuries were classified as wounding. When I gave that instruction I was told that the people gave a statement that they do not wish any court action so at the end of the day Mr.Vasquez instead of having yourself mislead by people with their own personal agenda I would suggest that you get the facts straight and come with substance and not nonsense. Thank you very much.” 

Police Commissioner has also come under scrutiny, after the opposition newspaper reported that the brother of a PUP Government Minister was reinstalled into the Belize Police Department. Gilbert Bernard is the brother of Minister Kevin Bernard and the question has been posed as to whether this was a political favor.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “What is wrong with that ? Mr.Gilbert Bernard is a former police officer. He applied for reenlistment and as the Commissioner of Police I accepted his reenlistment as I had done for many other persons including for Juan Coy who was a former Minister of State under the UDP government so -“

Reporter: But he was not over 55.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “So what is the issue ? Mr.Gilbert Bernard is not over 55. We cannot reenlist anybody who is over the age of 55 they would have been above retirement age so again please man for Christ sake mek we get out stats together.”

Reporter:  Okay and this is because the police department is short staffed ? 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “It’s not a matter of that, the law does give the Commissioner of Police the authority to reenlist ex police officers who wish to become back a part of the police so as long as we do our background checks, they do their medical and they past those things it’s a matter for the Commissioner to decide. The same was done to Juan Coy under the previous administration. The Guardian didn’t write about that why all of a sudden now it become an issue ?”