Amid the aggression shown by Police at the Port on Wednesday was a team from the Gang Suppression Unit. It is an infamous unit in the Belize Police Department that many pockets of society have called for its dismantling. Police Commissioner Chester Williams has admitted that the GSU has garnered negative reactions from the public and that under his command he will begin making changes to the unit, starting with a change of command.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I do believe we need to cut down the amount of people that GSU answer to because as is right now GSU answers to the Divisional Commander, they answer to Eastern Division Commander, they answer to Commander of Operations and they answer to Commissioner of Police so too much people they have to answer to and the reputation of GSU and what they can do it is important that we minimize the amount of persons who can deploy GSU especially to a volatile situation like what was happening at port. And so my directive now is that once there is any civil disobedience or any situation of a sensitive nature the only person who will deploy GSU will be the Commissioner of Police, nobody else. So if the Commander of GSU were to get a directive from anybody below the Commissioner to be deployed the Commander of GSU will have a responsibility to call the Commissioner and ask if the Commissioner had given such directive just to ensure that they’re on the safe side. Now we expect that with Mr.Joseph coming in as the new Commander of GSU you all know he is a very humble fellow, he has a wealth of experience in training and so we believe that him going to the GSU will be able to somewhat change the perception of GSU because you know people tend to have a bitter taste in their mouth when they heard the name GSU or the acronym GSU but we have to understand that as much as yes what happened out there is one that is distasteful to all of us that the GSU have done a lot of good work as well.”
The Gang Suppression Unit was established in April 2010 under the Barrow administration. Its first commander was Assistant Commissioner of Police Marco Vidal. Since its formation the GSU has been at the centre of numerous complaints from the public primarily related to the use of excessive force or the abuse of authority.