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Jul 4, 2016

Chester Versus Sociologists in a Battle Over Gang Intervention Methods

Chester Williams

The unremitting spate of crime and violence among rival groups is a social phenomenon which continues to grip Belize City.  The problem has been observed keenly from the perspective of experts who study the Belizean society and the individual social institutions therein.  It has also been scrutinized from the point of view of local law enforcement whose mandate includes policing and prevention.  Tonight however, there is a growing rift between the two entities, a chasm which has resulted from a professional opinion on the police’s approach to intervention.  The philosophical divide coincided with the launch of the book Like a Bushfire, an in-depth look at the crime and gang situation in Belize.  Recent comments made by a team of social scientists, including esteemed researcher Dr. Herbert Gayle and Greg Nunez have raised the ire of Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams.  Williams has taken umbrage to a scathing criticism of his method of intervention, as well as its overall effectiveness, and has embarked on his own media blitz to set the record straight.  That campaign continues to see a bucking of heads between the two parties.


ACP Chester Williams, O.C., Eastern Division South

“We would have expected that these eloquent researchers would have come and say, “You know what, we did our research and these are the results of our research.  These are what are causing the problem and these are the solutions that we would recommend that you put in place.  But for them to go every news or media house in Belize and just try to criticize the work that we do without even trying to provide some reasonable methods to be put in place to quell the situation, that is very unprofessional of them and I say that with no regrets.  I took offense to what they did because none of them have ever approached us and said, “You know what, we see that you are trying and we can help.  These are some solutions, can we…?”  They have not.  And even so, Isani, they don’t need us to try and calm things down in Belize City, they can operate on their own.  There are people out there who are doing things on their own.  You have Perry ‘Sticks’ Smith who tries every weekend or every two weeks to have some event in some gang ridden area to try and assist in the situation and we need to have more of that.  From our standpoint, we cannot do it by ourselves and the truth is, I wish I could find somebody who’s willing to take this on because I have a lot on my plate.  But because I see that there is no one out there who wants to take it up, so myself and Mr. Nuri and Ms. Finnegan decided to carry on with our interventions and as much as they may want to say that it’s not working and the thing that is even more aggravating about it is that many of the things that they are saying not true.  You all know that you have never been invited to our interventions.  According to what they are saying, the media comes to our interventions.”

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1 Response for “Chester Versus Sociologists in a Battle Over Gang Intervention Methods”

  1. meandi says:

    It is your job to look for all avenues to address crime. You are a studied individual as well, are you expecting things to come to your lap and them offering you help? You go out there and engage these type of researchers, you don’t just sit around criticize them for criticizing you and yet say you have too much on your plate. seriously, grow some balls and think before you open your mouth Chester. Your department thinks you all are separate and different and prefer to show off than to engage the population. sheeesh

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