Several Police officers were caught over the weekend behaving contrary to the Covid-19 regulations. Reports reaching the media say that some seven off-duty police officers were consuming alcoholic beverages at a seaside business establishment. ASP Yearwood spoke on the matter saying that the incident will not be taken lightly and that the matter is under investigation.
ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Public Relations, Belize Police Department: “Whenever these new SIs come out governing the whole COVID regulations that Mr.Bart Jones take his time to break it down to the smallest term for all of our officers not only for me or for general public and something like this I’m very sure, I’m certain that the Commissioner of Police would never ever tolerate or support. I heard of this early this morning and I was very surprised that our officers believe that they can be in a situation public like this doing whatever they were doing and like I said it will be viewed, it will be looked at by Professional Standards Branch. They have to investigate it and I am certain that when I contact the Commander of Division 2 Mr.Sinquest Martinez I am certain that he has already tasked his people to do his own investigation and our findings will be made public because we need to send a strong message to the general public that this is not the way that the police department operates. This will not be treated with a pat on the wrist. Yes sir I agree. So then that supervisor will be dealt with also. We cannot neglect our duty and try to blame it as using discretionary power. The fact remains these officers violated the COVID Act and they must be dealt with. We are not in the habit of running around trying to arrest our own but if you cannot adhere to the laws nobody is above the law in Belize and that’s the reality. It cannot be excused I am not even going to sit down here and try to create an excuse for them and I can tell you that I am certain that our Minister and our Commissioner do not he doesn’t support these kinds of things. Our Commissioner does not even consume alcohol so he wouldn’t tolerate them in doing that.”
Later in the day we met up with Police Commissioner Chester Williams who told Love News that the officers have since been ticketed.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I was briefed that some time Saturday morning they came across a group of police officers and civilians who apparently were socializing along the sea wall on Marine Parade Belize City. I was further briefed that based on that finding the police officers concerned were ticketed in respect to some of them not wearing face masks and so those officers are being dealt with. I was also told that the team of officers had just reported off duty the morning and apparently they went to the sea wall to have a few drinks. I would want to think that probably the stress of the job may have gotten to them and they were trying to find some way of recreating but as was said to them that we understand and we know that there is a regulation out there that prohibits recreational or social events at this time and as police officers while I may understand the fact that they may be stressed and need to find some avenue to relieve themselves of stress the avenue they chose is not the appropriate one and it certainly did not look good in the eyes of the public and so we have ot take corrective measures to ensure that the situation does not repeat it self.”
Reporter: As the Commissioner how will you handle the aspect that they had to call in back up to handle these police officers who had refused to disperse ?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I was not briefed on that by Mr.Rosado. He at not time said to me that the officers were resistant and back up had to be called. I don’t know about that aspect of it no.”
Love News understands that the group consisted of both civilians and Police officers.