Last week, Love News broke the story that Assistant Commissioner of Police Marco Vidal opted for early retirement. Love News confirmed on Saturday that the Governor-General, Froyla Tzalam, accepted Vidal’s early retirement request on Friday. In December 2021, the Security Services Commission approved that Vidal be placed on suspension to allow for an investigation into allegations against him of administrative misconduct to take place. The allegations were made after several members of his Operations Strike Team were being investigated for possible involvement in a drug plane landing. But is Vidal’s early retirement package a punishment or reward? That is what the media asked Police Commissioner Chester Williams on Saturday.
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: He is assistant commissioner of police no more, Marco Vidal is out of the force on early retirement.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “He has opted to retire early from the Police Department and I can tell you that I received the acceptance or the confirmation letter yesterday from the Governor General so his early retirement has been accepted.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Vidal was placed on interdiction following the approval of the Security Services Commission to allow for an investigation to take place. He was accused of administrative misconduct. This investigation was launched after members of Vidal’s Operations Strike Team were being investigated for possible involvement in a drug plane landing.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The infraction that was uncovered would amount to a minor infraction not a major. The investigation in itself surrounded the landing of the plane yield nothing against Mr Vidal.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: So what exactly was Vidal accused of? His officers were found with a large amount of ammunition they shouldn’t have had during the drug plane landing.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We believe that after any operations were to be conducted because he has a right to issue ammunition to his people when they go on operations but we believe that once the operation is over that they should return those ammunition again until they are ready to go out again, that was not done. Now that could have been for good reasons perhaps because they were always on operations police officers on operations can carry ammunition at large quantities because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter. They were also involved in responding to the plane landing you can’t send officers to respond to a plane landing with twenty ammunition, with 40 ammunition you don’t know what they are going to encounter so the issuance of those ammunitions could easily be justified. Yes obviously it shows now in hindsight that perhaps they were using it for the wrong reason but the issuing officer at that time would not know. So we can’t kill the man for that. I allowed him to do the work but when things are not going as I expected to go I will wheel them in and when I need to whip them I’m going to whip them and put them back out to do their job.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: And the department investigators failed at pinning anything on Vidal. He gets to leave the force with a retirement package.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “There was no criminal wrongdoing that was uncovered and as such we are in talks like I said with his attorney to have that mounter settled. It’s not a reward but I do believe that it is important for the morale of the department as well as the morale of the Belizean population because while it is that they may feel that there was some involvement of ACP in this particular instance you need concrete proof at the end of the day and so we have done our part and again it is a decision that we are making in terms of boosting the morale of not just the department but of the population.”
Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.