Ambergris Shaken; Mayor Calls Police’s Actions “Brutality”
The blasts of up to fourteen shots could be heard in the video, but authorities say only ten expended shells were recovered from the scene in the prime tourism destination. On the island today, business owners are still reeling from the shooting, which is likely to have an impact on the industry as the Easter holidays draw closer. As for the mayor, he agrees that those responsible must face the music. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The events, described by many as acts of police brutality and abuse of power, unfolded near the Central Park in the presence of hundreds of San Pedranos as well as tourists to the island. One restaurateur, who was up preparing for breakfast, says she came out to see a woman being beaten and within minutes the assault escalated to a shooting. But she couldn’t identify whether the shooters were police because they were not in uniform.
“I saw the commotion in front at the park. I thought it was a fight because there are usually fights. But I didn’t think that it would escalate to what I saw. As I was going inside, I heard the shots and I run and jumped to the ground. I looked out again and I saw that they were shooting and it is something that I never thought I would see in the center of the island of San Pedro. I didn’t see anyone with police uniform. What I saw was pure civilians and I didn’t go closer to see if it was police or regular people. I didn’t see anyone with uniform. I only saw the shooting.”
“It looks bad. For an island where tourism is our livelihood, we have get together and I make a call to all businesses that we try to do something to get back peace on the island. We need tranquility for tourists to continue coming back.”
The incidents, captured on amateur footage, spread like wildfire on social media. It is of great concern to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, who disagrees with the action taking by the officers. He says that it will not be tolerated in San Pedro.
Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro
“We are way over concerned just by viewing the video on social media and yes there are two officers that went beyond their powers—call it police brutality. It is an unfortunate incident that happened that early hours in the morning, around 4:30 if I am right. It’s right in front of the heritage bank that puts you right almost at Central Park. Like everybody knows, San Pedro has a night life and is a party town and where we have tourism at the highest point at the moment and there is a lot of tourists.”
Mayor Guerrero says that while the officers must be reprimanded for the abuse of power, there must be law and order within the society. That is the mandate of the police department.
“We as a country, we need to move forward. We cannot give the back to the police department, to the police officers—even though I know that the Belmopan people came immediately the following day to do an investigation, I don’t know the results yet. But if they are to be punished, I am totally in favor of that. I would support something like that. But as a town, as a tourist place, we need to move forward and the police needs to continue doing its job within the law and not to go over.”
Duane Moody for News Five.