Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams was once again in San Pedro Town yesterday meeting with his senior ranking officers and the tourism stakeholders particularly members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA). While the Commissioner and the Ministry of National Security have committed to a crime fighting strategy, the BTIA and the Belize Hotel Association have drafted their list of demands referred to as resolutions on crime. The four demands are for the police and government to take immediate steps in increasing the size and efficiency and professionalism of the police department in order to police all major tourism destinations. The other demand is for the department and government to focus more closely on the eradication of the international drug trade which lies at the heart of Belize’s crime problem. This must include a permanent campaign to attack corruption at all levels of law enforcement, government administration and the private sector without which the drug trade cannot flourish; the third is to devote significantly increased resources to improve the administration of justice at the level of police prosecution, Director of Public Prosecutions, Magistracy and Supreme Court; and the fourth is to initiate an ongoing media campaign to urge citizens to partner with law enforcement with the aim of making criminal behavior unwelcome and unacceptable to the larger Belizean society. In light of these demands, Love News spoke to the president of the Belize Hotel Association, Ted Tejada, to get an idea of how the recent rise in crime has affected the tourism industry.
Ted Tejado – President BHA: “As you know we Belizeans tend to love the tourists and Tourism but unfortunately we had two incidents recently that does affect our members. I have personally gotten phone calls from members saying that there have been cancellations, actually, I just heard from Expedia that last week we had an increase in the percentage of cancellation. It has leveled off this week because the people know that it does not matter which country you go, an unfortunate accident can happen. We do not wish for these things, we are working with the Government, we are working with BTB on how to mitigate it, we need to mitigate issues so that it does not happen again.”
Tejada said that in terms of major problems the hotel industry face, crime is definitely one of the biggest ones./////////