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Sep 27, 2006

Police in Cayo applaud public/private partnership

Story PictureToday the police officially inaugurated the one way identification mirrors in Benque Viejo and San Ignacio that played a critical role in the arrest of the alleged ring leader of armed bandits who terrorized the Cayo district for several months. The system was also used to positively identify an accused rapist. At a ceremony this morning Police Commissioner Gerald Westby said today’s occasion could not have been possible without the working cooperation and commitment of the police and private sector.

Gerald Westby, Police Commissioner
?We had a very difficult year here in Cayo with the bandits form across the border terrorizing the tourists in the Cayo District, which has so many unspoiled beauty. It was a very difficult time for us, but together we decided to come together. They are not from here that created a major, major problem for us because given the proximity across the border, they came, they terrorized us and then they fled cross. We are here today to inaugurate the one way mirror, and again it was so timely because Belize is a small society and people are usually afraid to come forward and identify a person face to face. So the mirrors were very timely in assisting us and in helping the witness to identify the person without having to face the individual. We have put together the best case. We have consulted with the D.P.P.?s office and they will be prosecuting the case. We must ensure that these people are convicted and stay behind jail, where they belong.?

Julian Sherrard, Cayo, B.T.I.A.
?As been said before the one way mirror came none too soon, the moment that I heard that this ten year old, who had been raped viciously and I don?t think there is another way to be raped, had positively identified the perpetrator I felt that the thousands of dollars that has been spent on this booth was well worth it. Easily worth it ten times over just to bring that person to justice. This was a critical junction that we have come to. We?ve had ten robberies in our country as it relates to tourism and we could not tolerate a single one more. I am not saying that it cannot happen, but we got to the point where something had to be done. All of our livelihood depended on getting to this point where we are.?

Mick Fleming, Owner, the Lodge at Chaa Creek
?I think what we are celebrating here is the movement of private and public sector in trying to join hands as we move into new times around the world, where crime seems to be increasing and there seems to be a lot more poverty. And the only way that we are ever going to solve this is by the kind of cooperation I think we are finding today.?

Funding for the mirrors and the identification booth construction was provided by a number of people involved in Cayo’s tourism industry.

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