Police Commissioner Chester Williams is taking on his former boss, Michael Peyrefitte who is the chairman of the United Democratic Party. It has to do with the murder investigation of Alrick Smith. Smith was gunned down last week Thursday night as he left the Love FM building on Slaughter House Road. Security cameras captured the murder and the vehicle used in the crime. That vehicle was later found burnt along the John Smith Road in the Belize District. This afternoon, Police Commissioner Chester Williams told reporters that three persons are being sought. According to Williams, one of them left the country the day after the murder and the other two are reportedly making their way to the US. Williams shared the motive for the murder:
Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “The vehicle that was used in the murder, allegedly used in the murder, was brought into the country by one Jody Burgess of the St. Martin’s area. We also learnt and confirmed that the vehicle was sold to one Justin Usher. We also have additional information that the night of the murder, two persons were in the vehicle, one of whom is a close relative to Jody Burgess and another who is a close associate to Jody Burgess. I’m not going to call those two names right now because it can be libellous because we have not confirmed certain things. Now, from what we have been made to understand is that the day after the shooting is that Justin Usher left the country. Certainly, him leaving the country may have been pre planned because you can’t just go to the airport and show up and catch a plane. You had to book your ticket at least 48 hours ahead. Notwithstanding that though, we do believe that Justin Usher had some questions to answer. The two persons who we have been told were in the vehicle, we have also been reliably informed, may be on their way to the U.S. through the back. We’re still trying to confirm that. So what we have done is to inform our Mexican counterparts. We have also put out “wanted” posters for Justin Usher and we will see if we can locate the other individual who is the close relative to Jody Burgess who we believe is still in country. But that group of persons, that group of four, we believe has all the answers to the murder of Alrick Smith. As we have now confirmed that his murder was inter-gang related so for Mr. Peyrefitte to again say that the murder of Alrick Smith was not gang related, that again is total nonsense. Because if you have inter-gang rivalries, gang murders, you all as members of the media know that the most difficult type of gang rivalries to deal with are the inter-gang ones because those you have people who are very close to each other who will be targetting each other and that can be problematic to any society. From what we have obtained, it is over a woman. We also have a second information that it may be over money but the most credible one is that it is over a woman.”
Now, as to the back and forth between the Commissioner and the UDP Chairman, the Opposition Party fired off a press release yesterday alleging that a police officer, who is a driver of a high-ranking government minister, was involved in the shooting. Williams referred to the allegations as nonsense.
Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “I don’t know if I am to refer to it as sub-allegations but rather perhaps sub-nonsense. I don’t know who is feeding my former boss with the degree of nonsense that he continues to spew. I trust and hope that he’s not paying whoever his police source is for those information because certainly, they are surely nothing but nonsense and if he’s paying the police for the information then the monies should be used for paying the employees of Wave. That way you won’t have Kenny Morgan ranting raving on social media. I can tell you that, yes, n the wake of the murder of Alrick Smith, we had received information that the vehicle that was involved in the murder was parked a a particular house in the Japan area of Ladyville. Based on information obtained, I directed that the police go to the house and retrieve the vehicle as well as whoever is the occupant of the particular home. Police visited the area. No vehicle was there. The house was seen with no one inside. I ordered that a surveillance team be put in place to ascertain who lives at the house because if the policeman that they were saying lives in that particular house, we know for a fact that he does not live there. He lives miles and miles away and we also know for a fact that his parents also do not live there. They live much more down the road. So at the end of the day, certainly, the police officer that they were saying lives at the house or his parents live at the house, neither of those information was true. The surveillance team was put in place and I think after a day and couple hours no one showed up at the house. Somehow, I was made to understand that directive was given to go and pick up the particular police officer and detain him. That information reached me and I was the one who called the team and went to detain the officer and told them to stand down because of the fact that it is clear that he had absolutely nothing to do with the house where they were alleging the vehicle was parked and neither did he have anything to do with the investigation. For me, policing is not about name and shame and certainly, there are some people who are into naming and shaming and that should not be the police. The police department should not be used as a tool for politics. Playing political pawn with police, for me, is a no no and stand by that. What I like about the Chairman of the UDP is that he seems to be very confident with what he is saying and I dare him to call the names and he is a lawyer. He knows better. If he calls the name he’ll be slapped with a lawsuit. Let him call the names.”