Unfair Treatment in Cannabis Find Case: Police Actions Questioned by Commissioner Williams

Unfair Treatment in Cannabis Find Case: Police Actions Questioned by Commissioner Williams

The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, says he sometimes wonders about the objective of some of his officers. Williams’ comments come after he says a Belize City family was treated unfairly by police who found 27 grams of cannabis at their residence. Yesterday, cops conducted an operation at a home on Pelican Street and found the cannabis in the backyard. At the time, five persons, including a minor, were at the residence, but three of the men did not reside at the home. Commissioner Williams says he learned that the police were moving to charge the persons and felt it was unfair, which led to him intervening and ordering their release. He says that there were several reasons why the decision to charge the men was unjust.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The job of a police is not to criminalize people unnecessarily or unjustly. As the Commissioner of Police I will not preside over a department that takes advantage of people. There are some police officers who believe that because they have been given a certain power they must use their power to take advantage of people, I will not tolerate that. You go to a house just to maybe get assistance to fix your bicycle or something. Seconds after you get to the house police arrive. Police search the back of the yard with nobody there say they find a bag of weed, a small little bag of weed, twenty grams of weed. They find this twenty grams of weed in the back of the yard, you who just reached there now they want to charge you. Is that fair to you ? We have to be fair to people. I simply said to the OC in Belize City Mr.Romero in the circumstances I do not believe it is going to be fair to charge the young man. There was a case recently where our Supreme Court made a pronouncement on an incident similar to that where the accused persons then sued the department and we were held liable because as far as the law is concerned it would be tantamount to malicious prosecution. It cannot be that because you’re a police officer you must  want to exert your power to unjustly criminalize people. And as a matter of fact while yes the yard has a fence the fence is low, anybody could have passed and dropped that in the yard. It’s only twenty grams of weed for Christ sake they need to stop it man.”

Reporter: So you position was that maybe the police should give these persons a bligh ?

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “To me that would be the most reasonable thing to do because it is going to be extremely difficult to convict them for that. You’re wasting the court’s time right ? But some of them don’t understand and when you try to correct them because they have this vendetta they want to run to the media. We cannot allow it to happen. We are a country of laws, we are a democratic country, the rule of law prevails. We must be fair to people. We must be fair to people. Not just because we are police officers we must take advantage of people I will not tolerate that, no.”

Our newsroom asked Williams if he believes a legal and regulated cannabis industry would eliminate frivolous charges against persons found with minuscule amounts of marijuana. Here’s how responded. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “It is just a matter of commonsense. If the drugs, the twenty grams, were to be found on one of the persons I would totally understand. If the drugs was found inside the common area of a house where a number of persons are I could understand. If the drugs is found in a room that you occupy I could understand but when you find drugs in an open yard where anybody could put it there and you will charge someone who just reached at the yard seconds before it is unfair to that person. It is even unfair to the people who live at that house because it might not even be for them. Someone could just drop it there. We have to be fair to people.”

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