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Jul 24, 2020

ComPol Sounds Off on Officers’ Actions at P.B.L.

Chester Williams

The Commissioner of Police Chester Williams also spoke on the sequence of events that transpired that led up to the GSU’s actions on the grounds of the Port of Belize. Williams says that a breakdown in communication but there also appears to have been a breakdown in chain of command when the GSU was deployed. Commissioner Williams says that the police must swiftly deal with this matter. One of the other actions taken is that moving forward the GSU will only be deployed by the Commissioner of Police for specific related cases. While the officers have been placed on five days administrative leave effective immediately – ComPol Williams says he is seeking a sixty days suspension immediately after the five days are up.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The directive was given to Mr. Dawson and he failed to transmit the directive downwards and that could be seen as what led to the chaos because had he trickled the directive down, then whatever happened would not have occurred. But Mr. Arzu also has a responsibility. You cannot deploy a riot team without consulting the commissioner of police and so he failed in that respect and he also failed in the respect that he was out th4ere when this entire fiasco was taking place and he did nothing to intervene to stop it. Mr. Lorenzo on the other hand was acting on instructions from Mr. Arzu. But again, Mr. Lorenzo, as much as the investigation shows, he did some due diligence in trying to find out from Mr. Arzu where the directive came from and if the persons had been spoken to before and asked to leave. He was given assurance where that is concerned and so he acted on instructions given to him by Mr. Arzu. Now, for us, while yes you act on instructions you must ensure that whatever instructions you act on are lawful.   I will be making a submission to the C.E.O., which will then go to the services commission next week, requesting the suspension of the officers for sixty days in the first instance. We are hoping that we are able to get the suspension approved before the five days administrative leave is up, so that from that they go straight into suspension. We then begin to look at the disciplinary process where I will be compiling the reports and evidence that we have. I will be forwarding that to the services commission through the C.E.O. and the C.E.O. will be sending the officers a show cause letter which they will then have explain why disciplinary action shouldn’t be taken against them and the ball begins to roll from there. I want to give the public the assurance that as a police department we too are upset. We are disgusted and watching the video footages it really brings chills to me.   I do believe that we need to cut down the number of people the GSU answers to. Right now, the GSU answers to the Divisional Commander, the Eastern Division Commander, the Commander of Operations and the Commissioner of Police. So, it is too many persons that the GSU answers to, too many people. The reputation of GSU and what they can do, it is important that we minimize the number of persons who can deploy GSU especially to a volatile situation like what was happening at Port. So, my directive is that once there is any civil disobedience or any situation of a sensitive nature, the only person who will deploy GSU will be the commissioner of police, nobody else.”


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