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ComPol Williams Responds to UDP Chairman on SOE Comments

Police Commissioner Chester Williams confirmed today that gang members of Southside Belize City have fled to other parts of the country to escape the State of Emergency imposed in the Saint Martin’s Area. The SOE was implemented over the long weekend following the shooting of six known gang members. The United Democratic Party, specifically the Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte who is a former Minister of Home Affairs, has criticized the SOE. Today, Williams lashed out at Peyrefitte, explaining why the SOE was implemented and why it was not announced. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “Let’s start with the shooting of the three young men from BLC. That was done by a gang rival. Subsequent o that we had the murder of Banks, from all indication, rivalling gang. Then the shooting of the other young man on Vernon St. I don’t remember the name right now. That again was a gang rivalry. The shooting of Alrick Smith, even if it is an inter-gang rivalry, it is still a gang rivalry. Within that short space of time, we have a total of 3,4,5, 6 persons shot, two of whom died. All of these persons are from the St. Martin’s area which shows that there’s an intense rivalry within the Martin’s area between the feuding gangs. I can’t understand how the Chairman of the UDP can say that there was no need for the SOE but yet the Leader of the Opposition is asking for police security. If you don’t believe that there was a justification for the SOE or that there is any gang rivalry going on then why do you want security? I heard him say that the minister prematurely called a state of emergency and signed some declaration. Man, Mr. Peyrefitte was the Minister of National Security. We did three SOEs under his leadership and everyone, including you the media who are not lawyers, who have never been the minister, you all know that when it comes to a state of emergency the Minister of National Security or Home Affairs does not sign any declaration. To make matters worse he said that it was called unannounced. For Chrst’s sake, have we ever announced a state of emergency? Have we? If you announce it you defeat the purpose. You’ll be alerting the people who are supposed to be picked up in the SOE that you are coming for them and they’ll go on the run. So again for him to say that it is unannounced, he knows better. But again, it’s all indominant effort to feed the Belizean people with a bunch of nonsense. It cannot be that someone who knows better will look at us or the lay man who does not know better, who you think does not know better, and take us for a bunch of fools. It cannot be.”