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Sep 13, 2017

Chester Williams versus Marco Vidal: Will Senior Cops Land in Court?

Is there a bitter sibling rivalry brewing within the ranks of the Belize Police Department that may very well end up in the Supreme Court?  Since succeeding Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams as head of Eastern Division South on July first, Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal has expressed a different approach in fighting crime.  Those comments have, for the most part, downplayed Williams’ role in addressing Belize City’s enduring gang rivalries.  Vidal has also been blunt about his position on the ceasefire between various groups back in April, going on record to say that the truce was never struck between the gangs and the state.  That break in fighting was orchestrated by ACP Chester Williams who was instrumental in the mediation process.  On Tuesday, the Officer Commanding E.D. South suggested that there may have been certain leniencies afforded to some gang members or groups over others, as it pertains to illicit activity.  This, as further insinuated, was in return for them keeping the peace.  Well, that allusion does not sit well with Williams, who in a subsequent social media post, has threatened legal action against Vidal.  While it does not say what charge may be pursued, the situation has certainly incensed Williams.  For context, we will revisit Vidal’s remarks on gang rivalries from a press brief held on Tuesday morning.

 

Marco Vidal

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South [File: September 12th, 2017]

“Currently the situation in some areas is very tense because the rivalries have erupted and we intend to continue with our operations to ensure that we can nip it in the bud.”

 

Reporter

“So the relative peace which prevailed in the city over the weekend, the relative peace, was, would you say a consequence of specialized law enforcement tactics, operations, strategies?”

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“Certainly we have to attribute it to a strategy because the strategy would have been developed based on what we were foreseeing and what would have eventually played out.  As you know, there was this mass hysteria that a number of things would have happened, so there were certain things being done in tandem with the operations that were being carried out throughout the events leading from the J’ouvert all the way to the Tenth and they continue as we speak.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, you said earlier that the rivalries have erupted so there’s a lot of tension.  I know this has been asked in other press conferences but you’ve conceded that the rivalries have erupted.  Would you say it is due to or it is owing to the difference in strategy, difference in approaches taken by yourself as opposed to the previous commander who was constantly involved and advertising mediation activities which you have said that the state has no mediation to do.”

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“Right.  Let me answer you in context.  First of all, the mediations have not ended, despite what again you may have seen or read on social media.  The mediation has not changed, that continues, just that it is within the body that is responsible for doing mediation objectively.  In terms of any peace having been between whatever period you want to put it, as journalists, if you would go to the very people who speak about peace, you would know that there was no peace and there was a number of underlying issues that prevailed during that same time.  My policy is that I don’t give any persons a break in terms of breaking the law.  I will not consider it, I will not do that.  If you are committing an offense you will face the consequences of that offense and that’s my proposition.  If the criminals are not happy with that then we will enforce the law and that’s it.”

 

Reporter

“Are you alluding to the widely held perception that certain groups were allowed to thrive in the marijuana trade while others weren’t allowed to thrive in that trade under the previous commander?”

 

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal

“Exactly, and you obviously have your information from within… and you would have known that there was some perception, if you may, that there were some persons allowed certain things and others not allowed to do the very same thing.  My position and my strategy is that it is across the board.  You commit an offense and you will face the consequences for that offense.”


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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