The presidential seat for the Belize Police Association is up for grabs again. This time, two slates have been put together with former President, Eldon Arzu, and Sergeant Jane Usher vying for Presidency. As you may recall, the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL), Chester Williams decided that the tenure of the President should be limited to two terms. Corporal Eldon Arzu who has already served in that capacity for seven years is challenging that decision in court. While the matter is still before the court, elections are coming up and according to Commissioner Williams, he remains neutral.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Mr.Arzu is a serving member of the police department, he can offer himself for election to be a member of the Police Association and if the rank and file of the department so chooses to elect him to that association then the law is he must serve simple as that.”
Reporter: There’s another slate though contesting him. Would you say that people can say that you can sway the members of the association to vote not against Mr.Arzu but for the other slate?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “As the Commissioner I remain neutral. I’m not going to campaign for either group, I’m not going to try and influence the rank and file to vote for either group. What I will do though is to ensure that the message that is being used for campaign is an honest message and no fabrication by either side with a view to ensure that they get the upper hand over the other. It’s a matter of the rank and file to decide who they want to represent them in the association but what I want though is that I don’t want an association that is going to be “Yes. Yes. Yes.” to the Commissioner. I want an association that is going to work with me and fight for the better good of this department, fight for the welfare and interest of the rank and file that they represent.”
COMPOL went ahead and conveyed what he expected from the slate elected.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “There’s a lot that an association can do within the police department with a view to ensure that we improve the condition of service, that we can look at land ownership for police officers, we can look at insurance schemes for police officers, there are several things that we can do that I would want to have a strong association that is going to work along with me to ensure that those things that police officers need that we can get them especially when it comes to sickness benefits, some insurance thing because every so often we have police officers falling ill and they have to be doing a barbecue sale or be begging here or begging there; I don’t think we should be doing that. There should be a system in place that when police officers fall ill that the system can kick in and help them. As the Commissioner of Police I’ve tried my best to assist police officers who fell ill through the Police Trust Fund or the Police Reward Fund and I think that more can be done. What I’m doing today is I’m publishing the audit of the Police Trust Fund and the Police Reward Fund because I want the members of the department to see how much monies we have in those accounts, what the monies have been spent on over the past year because at the end of the day the monies in those accounts belong to the police officers and they have a right to know what is in the account, they have a right to know how the monies have been spent because that goes toward showing transparency. We cannot be hiding things from our members so I’ve directed Mr.Calbert Flowers who is Commander of Welfare to ensure that the audit of those two accounts are published today in the departmental orders so that the rank and file of the department can read and see for themselves how much money we have in those two accounts.”
The Lawsuit against Commissioner of Police has still not proceeded to trial.