Minister of State responsible for Home Affairs Elodio Aragon Jr. told the media yesterday that the Belize Police Department is an unarmed department. Aragon Jr. was speaking in regards to officers not being well equipped to carry out their duties and responsibilities. With the start of the 2017 fiscal year, will the department’s biggest hurdle be financing? According to the Minister, the budget cut they receive is minimal.
ELODIO ARAGON JR
“At the end of the day this is not a department like when you look at Guatemala and others in the region where every single police officer is armed, that is not the situation here in Belize. We are to a large extent still an unarmed police department and definitely it is not about lack of resources, where the resources are needed we find those funds and put them there. In terms of the police department I think you all know we are not going to have a recruit intake this year, what we are going to do is focus in trainings that are necessary just like we’ve been speaking about in terms of the use of that firearm, looking at police customer service all the things that make a police officer more professional; as professional as they can be because at the end of the day because at the end of the day continuous training is what is required. These police officers only get four months of training at the police academy we need to continue with our in service training and this year this is our plan to ensure that we touch on the most important aspects that we want to impact on our police men and women and that is what the academy will be very busy this year in terms of that. Like I’ve always said it’s not about the quantity of police officers, it is about the quality of police officers and if we want to get quality officers then we have to invest in our officers in terms of training and that is what we are focusing this year but definitely the budget won’t affect us much in terms of the recruitment but the money will be spent. Our cuts were very minimal. Apart from that we do believe that that plus the injection of funding from CABEI will give us a good boost in terms of repairing buildings that have dilapidated over time, about looking to acquire new buildings, look at 100 camera systems in Belize City and others that will come from this funding so we do believe with that and the budget that we have will give us the necessary resources to get the job done.”