Northern Belize Faces Surge in Violence, Prompting Assistance from Belize Defence Force
In recent weeks, violence has reared its ugly head in the northern districts as we have reported on several gun-related crimes, a shootout in the Orange Walk District, the murder of Kurtis Usher and the shooting at the home of Wilbert Henry in Libertad Village, Corozal. It is a situation that has forced the Police to call on the Belize Defence Force for help. According to the Police Commissioner Chester Williams, investigators are leaning towards the drug trade as a possible motive.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Certainly there is an issue with respect to the drug war in the north. As a department we are working in tandem with the Belize Defence Force to see what we can do to stem these violence and yes as a part of that effort all those persons who we believe are involved in the drug trade within the northern districts are being pursued by the police with a view for them to be interviewed and see what role or what part they’re playing in what is happening in the northern districts. And so with that it is nothing new when something happens it is the police’s duty to move in an investigate and to try to restore some sense of normalcy. If you go to the village of Libertad you will see that the people there are very uneasy and they expect that the security forces are going to do something to restore their sense of normalcy and we are going to respond to the needs of the people in doing what we should to restore that sense of safety to the people of Libertad and by extension the northern district. I can tell you definitely that what is happening in Libertad has to do with local suspected drug dealers or drug traffickers and those are the persons we’re focusing on but at the same time we’re still looking at the possibility of outside elements playing a part in what is taking place.”
It is to be noted that at the scene of Kurtis Usher’s murder, as many as twenty one expended shells for a seven-point-six-two high powered rifle were found at the scene. The shooting incident at the home of Wilbert Henry saw as many as thirty expended shells from a point-two-two-three rifle. Police Commissioner has cited the drug trade as a motive in these two cases.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “From time immemorial they do have persons in the north just like other parts of the country who are believed to be involved in the drug trade and yes we know that there is always that fight for who wants to be in control of the trade in respective areas and that could be one of the issues that we’re seeing playing out in the north. As a department like I said we’re doing what we can to get to the bottom of it and identify those persons who are responsible and deal with them. We have increased our presence tremendously in the northern districts with a view to see how we can quell the issues and again I cannot reiterate it enough restoring that sense of security that the people rightly deserve. It has to do with both cocaine and marijuana. You all would know that they do have the marijuana trade where drugs from Mexico the hydro or the high grade drugs marijuana is brought into the country and the local drug peddlers would get that and they sell and then they pay back the persons from the Mexican side. So we’re looking at both types of drugs.”