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Apr 18, 2018

No More ‘Southside’ – Police Regions Now Numbered

Chester Williams

What’s in a name? Just ask the Belize Police Department. They say they want to help to eliminate the stigma associated with what’s known as the “south side” and they want to get residents to start looking at the City as a whole – and not by north and south sides with connotations. So, they’ve renamed the Eastern Division South to Eastern Division Region One. And the Eastern Division North has been renamed as Region Two and rural is now Rural Region Three. It was an idea proposed by Commander Howell Gillett. In a statement to the media today he said, “Years ago, Orange Walk was called Rambo Town and nobody wanted to go there. Some years later, it was referred to as Suga City and it made a positive difference. It is against this backdrop that when I took over on the 19 March I suggested a name change and the Ministry and Department agreed.”Today when we caught up with Deputy Commissioner Chester Williams, he explained what’s behind the name.

 

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner (Operations)

“Well, from a police standpoint, we know that this will not have the effect that we really want because it will take the public to remove that stigma from the head, referring to north side, south side. But we believe that we can lead the way in the change by not referring to this part of the city as south side and then that other part as north side. So, we have no renamed them and we now have Eastern Division Region 1, which was formerly known as E.D South and Eastern Division Region 2 formerly known as E.D North and then Eastern Division Region 3 formerly known as E.D Rural. So, we are trying to lead the way where we can begin to see that change in society where persons from the south side are viewed differently from those on north side. So, we are hoping that us making the first step in that respect, that we will begin to see other persons begin to follow and stop referring to north side – south side.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, but there was a useful purpose for calling them that way because it is geographical and secondly not just because you change the name means that he crime effects that happens in these location will just simply go away. Would you disagree?”

 

Chester Williams

“Well, like I said, changing the name alone will not help or will not serve the purpose that we want but we are taking the lead in changing it from a police standpoint.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, so for right now it is just a matter of semantics, you’d say? Or is there any kind of operational factor that is going into this – or tactical?”

 

Chester Williams

“Well, for us it is more than semantics but rather to show the Belizean people that from a police stand point we are no longer looking at north side – south side in a different light. We are now looking at both sides the same way.”

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