Police Detain Alleged Gang Members Following Security Force Member’s Murder

Police Detain Alleged Gang Members Following Security Force Member’s Murder

Tonight, more alleged gang members from Belize City are being rounded up by police to be shipped off to the Belize Central Prison. The move comes after a member of Belize’s security forces was killed.  The killing comes during a State of Emergency that was declared last month in portions of Belize City and portions of the Cayo District. It is believed that the murder was carried out by gang elements of the PIV gang that operates in the St. Martin’s area. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams explained that this latest murder has urged them to detain the men under the SOE.  Whilst speaking on this issue, the commissioner also rejected claims that a member of his department has close ties to gang figures from the area. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “You would know that when the SOE began I had said that even though Martins was a part of the proclamation we would not go after Martins because they were behaving. This has now changed that picture and so certainly we will have to deal with those persons from the PIV and we have to form part of the SOE. Again I am pushing to see if we ca have the SOE extended for the simple fact that we believe that some of these young men have still not really gotten the message and we need more time to be able to properly investigate those persons who are under the SOE and the one month period would not suffice. So I am seeking to see if we can get it extended for another month. I’m not aware of any close relationship and I’m not aware of anything where Gamboa influences my decisions. I am an independent minded person and so I don’t act based on the influence of people. I act based on the situation on the ground and I believe that the current situation on the ground dictates that we must do what I’ve said that we will do.”

Williams says that police have already begun the detention of several men who will be sent to prison for thirty days in the first instance. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We have commenced the detention last night. Some of them are in custody at this time and we are hoping that we will be able to locate the others in due course.”

Reporter: In the meantime how has the peacekeeping mediations been so far with the men? 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We have not commenced that peacekeeping mediation as yet, no.”

Reporter: Any idea when or if the police department would be —

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Certainly we will and I believe that next week we should begin to look at that.”

Williams added that police will also be engaged in mediation efforts with residents from rural Belize later today to prevent further bloodshed between the rivaling groups.

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