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May 23, 2018

Defending the Community Policing Strategy

Howell Gillett

Earlier in the newscast, you heard Commander Howell Gillett speak briefly about the crime in the city.  While he has been on the Southside for less than three months, there are some quarters in the Belize Police Department that are critical of his approach to crime. Many feel that while he is doing some good activities here and there, he is far removed from the reality on the ground. Today, we asked Gillett for comment. Here’s how he explained it:

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, Regional Commander, Region One, Eastern Division

“Where we are today didn’t come about just a few days ago or a few months ago. So, there is lots of work to be done and we continue strategically help young people. Because the way we took over the City in the middle of March we would not want to hand it over back in that fashion. So, that is why you see so many things happening for young people. That doesn’t negate the fact that we must apply the law to those who are hell bent on committing crimes. The operations continue through the city. We continue to target gang members and criminals. That will never stop. That is part of policing, type 1 policing but in tandem we must be helping young people so that we are not in this situation to two to five to ten years from now. So, we are doing all that we could but we are moving in fast forward, fast motion to try and help our young people hence the reason you are seeing so many things in recent times. It is burdensome yes, because it takes a lot of energy to be doing what we are doing but we are up to the challenge.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“We see all these wonderful things happening, but at the end of the day, for the residents of Belize City it is that “my ma get killed; my neighbor get killed’ – people are dying?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Well, I will sound like a scratch record to say that we are where we are not just a few months of degradation and it took us some years to get where we are and it will take us some time to get out of this. When I was in Belmopan, the naysers – as a matter of fact, I want to say this, the naysers will say when they see you walking on water it is because you can’t swim. And I want to say also that when I was in Belmopan, there were police officers of senior ranks who were saying that what the commander needs to do is to focus on the crime fighting measures rather than community oriented policing. But I will tell you that because of what we did in Belmopan, we were able to reduce crime by fifty-two percent and that was never achieved in any other part of the country.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, some may question whether you are up for this job, considering that the nature of the beast in Belmopan is completely different from Belize City?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Of course and I would be happy when the day comes and we will start to see. As a matter of fact, you won’t believe it – it is like flooding. If a place is flooded and a drizzle comes, people believe that it contributes a lot to the flooding. It is the same thing with crime; if it is at a level that is not deemed to be manageable by the public, anything that happens will cause alarm.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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