The residents in San Victor Village, Corozal District do not take their rights to privacy lightly. Several of them stood up to police officers who attempted to conduct a search of a vehicle that was inside an unfenced yard. Two persons came out of the house, one armed with a machete, and a confrontation started. Those two persons were quickly joined by other members of the village. The matter escalated quickly and in no time other residents were seen with weapons, threatening violence against the officers. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, was upset at the report and told the media that he will not tolerate threats or harm to any of his officers.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “As the police we have an obligation and we’re not going to shy away from it and yes some residents of San Victor tried to hold the police hostage and my words to my police officers was to stand your ground and do not allow nobody to run you over and I am happy to say that the officers were very very brave. They stood their ground while we sent in additional officers to assist them and the additional officers went in, they took control of the situation, a number of persons were detained and were charged and I want to make this clear and I want people to understand that we cannot have any outlaw group believe that they can have an uprise and the police is going to back down; we are not going to do that. We will do what we can to ensure that we take a grip of situations and to deal with those who need to be dealt with. You would know that some of the people of San Victor have that propensity of wanting threaten law enforcement officers and believe that they can do as they please and the law enforcement officers or agencies must be afraid of them – that is not going to work. We had assistance from the QRTs in Orange Walk, Corozal, additional specialized unit was sent in, BDF went in and even customs joined the police in going into San Victor after those persons who believed that they could have held the police hostage in that very small village. So I am happy to see how it turned out that we were able to take control and those responsible were eventually detained and arrested and charged.”
Eight adults and a minor were detained for this incident. The persons appeared in court complaining that the police used excessive force on them. ComPol, however, says it wasn’t excessive force. Rather, he says that the officers did what was needed to quell the situation.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “In any other part of the world you go and you try to hold the police hostage saying to the police that you can leave but your gun and vehicle will stay you would pretty much be lucky to come out of there alive and the fact that they were able to reach to court alive speaks very well of the police-the patience and the professionalism of the police. The police even though I am sure that the police did not use any lethal force against anybody whatever force was used by the police or whatever shots were fired was with non lethal ammunition and at the end of the day considering the circumstances under which they had the police, the police had to do what they did to protect themselves and at the same time to keep their firearms and their vehicle. Can you imagine a mob threatening to take away the policeman’s gun ? Can you imagine what would happen if the mob get the policeman’s gun ? These are not pistols these are automatic rifles. Can you imagine automatic rifles in the hands of mobs? That cannot work no so I don’t understand why they’re complaining. They should be happy.”
Police officers will continue to have a strong presence in the area, which is a known as a contraband hotspot.