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Nov 1, 2018

A Police Booth to Oversee Matron Roberts Health Center

A police booth was opened today near Matron Roberts Centre in Belize City to serve as a deterrent to crime. The police presence in one of the City’s hot spots for feuding gangs will also help the cops respond to crime on a more timely basis as well as keep the neighbourhood safer for persons who need to access healthcare. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Permanent police presence in the vicinity of a medical center is somewhat unusual.  But when patients are being preyed upon while accessing healthcare, the notion of visiting a clinic becomes a real safety concern.  The senseless murder of Shakedi Baizar on August thirty-first, a short distance away from the Matron Roberts Polyclinic, underscores a need for officers to be stationed nearby, particularly since services offered at the facility are also sought by persons belonging to feuding groups.

 

Howell Gillett

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, Commander, Region 1, Eastern Division

“What happened [is that] we’ve seen in the past, and you know as well as I do, that we’ve had up to the level of a murder occurring in this area because there are rivaling gang members from nearby neighborhoods, without calling any names, and there are people who are scared to simply come and get medical care.  And we have to provide the security for people because as much as healthcare needs to be affordable, it has to be accessible also and our role in it is to have an officer placed here during the opening hours of this clinic to offset all that I’ve mentioned.”

 

Experiencing firsthand what has been taking place just outside their offices, the management and staff at Matron Roberts reached out to the Ministry of Health for assistance.  Alexy Rosado is the administrator at the polyclinic.

 

Alexy Rosado

Alexy Rosado, Administrator, Matron Roberts Polyclinic

“We all know of the increase in crime that’s happening in our area.  The initiative, we had several meetings where we are now in partnership with the police department.  We are very thankful to Mr. Gillett for assisting us with this initiative.  The Ministry of Health, Central Health Region, constructed the booth, the booth was constructed at our end and we are having the police department assisting us with officers to be stationed in the area.”

 

These men and women of law enforcement are essentially being assigned to the booth to prevent a recurrence of what happened here two months ago.  The incident has created a palpable fear among persons looking for medical treatment.

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“We are ever so sorry that a murder did occur, but we are trying our best to not let that repeat itself.  So in essence, there are some things that will be achieved by doing this and of them is to improve on the police’s response to reports of crime.  We will also be able to allow better access to healthcare because there are people who simply are scared to come to the clinic because they know of what is going on between the different trouble neighborhoods.”

 

Alexy Rosado

“We have a total of almost, approximately twenty-four thousand patients that access this facility, so our biggest concern is safety for them.  So I think with the booth we will secure some of that, as well as our staff that work here as well.  This is a very busy street, we have, as you all have seen, a training center, the clinic, the bank.  We have Green Patch that’s here and dental services.  So I think it is keeping the community safe as well.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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