The relationship between the police and the media can be described in most generous terms as tumultuous but it resembles and abusive relationship in which people would say either party can’t live with and can’t live without the other. The Commissioner of Police Chester Williams’ voice has been very accessible to the media as he recognizes the need to disseminate information in a timely fashion to the public. Perhaps that’s why he invited some members to a luncheon at the Queen Street Police Station in Belize City to review ways in which the department can better work together. Part of this rehabilitation includes instituting a Media and Public Relations Director for the Commissioner’s office as well as a gag order against telling the media how many shots were fired in an incident, how many times a victim was shot and the quantity of expended shells. So it wasn’t quite the biblical battle of Cane and Abel, or the epic reconciliation of Rhianna and Chris Brown, but the relationship the police has with the media can be best described as recovering in a stable condition at the KHMH. Nonetheless, we spoke to Douglas Hyde, the Director of Media for Commissioner Williams Office about how he expects the relationship to move forward.
Douglas Hyde, the Director of Media: “The Commissioner in this 2019/ 2020 Public and Media Relations Strategy is looking at a better relationship first with the media. We are looking at of course the continuation of strategy and ways to build that relationship but also in sharing information with the media in proper ways and structures and of course he is looking at better mending and building relationships on a whole when it comes to the whole media and public relations itself so today was also an introduction of the new changes of his senior commands specifically in the districts or as we call it the Regional Commanders. We know that there were a couple changes and so he introduced those two officers but also looking at the ways of the way forward when it comes to the Police and the Media relations. We want to look at the professional way that we move forward in the Police Department. The neutral trust is very important and of course the confidence with the working relationship that we have had in the past with the media houses. We want to continue those so those were all his angels that he looked at and of course having someone like me in his office now to look at the Media and Public Relations is something very important. That takes a serious step and actually this is the first time we have had a civilian taking that position in the Police Department at the highest office which is the Commissioner’s Office so he is taking that step to show that who more or less as the person who has been doing this for so much years within the Police Department that can actually access and work with the media but also help build on what we have here. As you know we have the Public Relations Unit which will continue to work on the day to day work of the crimes statistics and of course reporting and of course now from his office looking at the bigger picture which is policies and strategies but also implementations of the Police officers and the work of the Police Department.
One of the outcomes of today’s luncheon was that the police would grant interviews on request outside of the scheduled Monday and Thursday briefings. The department assented to a request a few hours later following the shootout on Coney Drive in Belize City.