Government’s Cabinet has approved the recruitment of 225 men and women for the Belize Police Department. Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa in a previous interview had expressed plans to increase the police force and that his request would have been tabled before Cabinet for its approval. According to Musa there is a need for an increase in the force especially since many of the officers are out on Covid-19 quarantine and isolation. Musa made this statement on December 10 during the presentation of a new police curriculum.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs & New Growth Industries: “It is our intention to in very short order have an intake, another intake of police officers. As you know we are severely understaffed in our force due to attrition, in some instances due to COVID a lot of our officers are suffering with COVID at this time and so there is need for an intake and so we have to be very careful how it is we go about executing such a training and so today was just sort of the first step in that direction and of course there’s a general theme that I want to at all times carry through in terms of what I believe, in terms of what I believe the people of Belize feel about police officers. We need to restore confidence in our Belize Police Department, we need to make greater use of technology, of innovation and more importantly of reform. We need to have greater reform within the police department and at the same time that general theme of community policing , trying our best to have our officers trained in such a way to deal with the members of the public even the criminal elements. I always tell the Commissioner of Police that perhaps it is time for us- you always see members of the public filming what is happening but sometimes they splice it and take out the part where the actual police officer comes to you in a nice way and so perhaps it is time for us to record each of these encounters to show the side of the police department that efforts were made to be nice and respectful before things get out of hand. And so those are the general themes that we want to get across and again focusing on the advancements of technology and taking advantage of those advancements.”
Other decisions coming out this week’s Cabinet meeting includes the introduction of new Covid-19 measures to be added to the existing regulations. Approval was given, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness will present the changes in a virtual press conference slated for tomorrow. Meanwhile in the Ministry of the Civil Aviation, Cabinet has given the green light for the establishment of a committee that will review and formalize the standard operating procedures for arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport. The approval, according to a government release, is to prepare for the projected increase in arrivals over the next few months. The committee will be spearheaded by Minister Andre Perez.