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Aug 14, 2019

San Pedro Town Gets 13 Additional Tourism Police Officers

Today, thirteen special constables officially joined the ranks of the Tourism Police Unit in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The selected thirteen will join the existing four members of the unit and are expected to use their skills and knowledge to effectively police Belize’s top tourist destination. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Thirteen newly trained Special Constables joined the San Pedro Tourism Police Unit. These tourism police officers underwent a three-week training at the Police Training Academy and are expected to utilize their newfound knowledge and skills to enforce the law on Ambergris Caye.

 

Christopher Noble

Supt. Christopher Noble, O.C., San Pedro Police  

“For the people that are here that are here to work, the Commissioner pushed me hard and I push harder. San Pedro pushes hard and we respond in kind. So San Pedro, will welcome you definitely. I am glad to be here and I hoping to get it to work better.”

 

Rob Eckelbesh

Rob Eckelbesh, North Neighborhood Watch Group

“We are very pleased to see that the new police truck is here in operation. I want to let you know that we are committed to do the servicing on that vehicle to make sure that it stays operational for the police officers here and for the good of the community.”

 

The installation of the new officers comes after there was an increase in concerns on the island pertaining to crimes, especially the double murder of American Doctor Gary Swank and tour guide Mario Graniel.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“I am not going to say that there was an increase of crime in San Pedro because that was not the case. We do have a double murder and that raise some serious concerns. So as you would know if the aftermath of that double murder, we had a meeting at the same basketball court where members of the public were present and they had expressed their discontent in terms of amount of police officers on the island and other issues surrounding their personal safety as well as the safety of tourists who visit the island. So on that evening in question I had made certain commitments to the people of San Pedro that we will be looking at hiring additional tourism police officers to police the tourism industry.  Two, we will be acquiring some equipment for the officers to work with and three, we will do our best to ensure that we work with the people on San Pedro to be able to achieve that mandate of keeping the island and its residents face.”

 

The ever-expanding tourism industry accounts for a large portion of the country’s GDP. Ambergris Caye is the number one tourist destination and protecting it means protecting the livelihoods of thousands of families and millions of dollars in revenue for the government.

 

Chester Williams

“We understand the dynamics behind tourism. We understand that tourism is the breadwinning for many Belizeans and we don’t want to be to provide that avenue for the industry to go away and taking bread out of the mouth of many of our citizens. We want to ensure that we do our part in keeping the industry alive and vibrant, to make the area safe that tourist would want to visit the island. So these are the things that we are doing to ensure that we do just that.”

 

The unit will be working with the Belize Tourism Board. As part of the ceremony, the Tourism Unit received a vehicle, six motorcycles, a golf cart, office equipment, and firearms. Williams says that the number of tourism police officers on the island will be increased to twenty-two officers. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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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