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May 3, 2021

Regaining a Sense of Security in P.G.

Less than two weeks ago, two Punta Gorda residents were executed – one shot dead while on his veranda and the other inside his vehicle at the entrance of the town. The unrelated murders happened within twenty-four hours of each other. To respond, the Belize Police Department has reworked its strategy in the South and there is a new commander. Over the weekend, News Five’s Duane Moody spoke to residents about regaining a sense of security in P.G.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The recent gun violence in the southernmost municipality, Punta Gorda, has left residence in the south uneasy. The murder of two men within twenty-four hours of each other sends the signal that something is wrong and something needs to be done.

 

Nelia Tush

Nelia Tush, Resident Punta Gorda

“You’ll be afraid at night and then also at day time, you will never know what could happen and any circumstances. And then for me, based on my general opinion, when I hear about the crime, I don’t really want to come out because it is really dangerous.”

 

Steven Williams, Resident, Eldrigeville

“When I heard about that incident that night by the “Y,” by the dollar-coin, the guy was my good friend. He lives in my neighbour village, Forest Home. I couldn’t believe when I heard it. It’s going very rude down here because we neva had this kind of violence in our town, neither in our neighbour village. We coudla walk free all the way from our village back to town and back home without anybody harm us. Today day, we are very scared to just come out of our house, just to look out of our window.”

 

Delfin Castillo

Delfin Castillo, Resident, Punta Gorda

“I’ve been here for forty-seven years and I noh know nothing but Zion; this dah love so weh di violence come from, it’s like a sickness.”

One resident says that the crimes are being committed by people not originally from Punta Gorda.

 

Steven Williams

Steven Williams

“Dah people from outside di come in and do it. When it comes to our boys here in P.G., those guys have a heart. They have a heart. I could say that cause I do construction work and a lot of them work with me about here in town. A lot of them come out here and get a job from me. I always help them out. So when I’m in town I noh scare about them because I know that I don’t have rude guys like that. But I would always say, I come back to the police force, they have to be more seen. Give us a little more patrols in the night than locking there in the station and then wait for a call. It doesn’t work that way all the time.”

 

The residents believe that the police department needs to review its strategy to address the crime situation P.G. And that’s what has been taking place. In the wake of the killings, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams headed South to re-strategize the policing efforts in the area. Among the new measures is a new commander assigned to the Punta Gorda Police Formation.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police [File: April 26th, 2021]

“As a police department, we owe it to the people of Punta Gorda to ensure that we provide the level of citizen security that they so rightly deserve.  I just announced some changes that will happen in Punta Gorda Town as early as this week. We need to ensure that we put people in place who are going to fulfil the mandate of the department. Within the scope of what will be done in Punta Gorda Town, that it will encompass that aspect. It is not to say that we will be soft on criminals because those persons who are part and parcels of the problem in Punta Gorda, I can assure you that they will feel the wrath of the police. But the wider citizenry who are law-abiding and in compliance, they are going to experience the softer side of police. We want to promote an atmosphere where the people are going to feel free and confident in speaking to the police officers, particularly those in charge.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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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