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Dec 6, 2021

Home Affairs Minister Weighs in on JIOC Controversy

The hard line position recently taken by the head of the Belize Coast Guard to institute a firewall limiting information sharing with the Belize Police Department has been rescinded. It follows a meeting held last week between Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and Rear Admiral Elton Bennett. The BCG is presently leading the Joint Intelligence Operations Center. With concerns of privileged information being leaked to members of the police department for the purpose of facilitating drug trafficking, instructions were given for a tight rein to be kept on intelligence pertaining to aircraft tracking. This morning, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa weighed in on the controversy.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“I find the comment to be little unfortunate because, like I mentioned, it’s not just police officers that are suspected to be involved in facilitating these plane landings. We have other security forces personnel. You could recall the one earlier this year that we caught up the river in the Belize River Valley. There was a driver, who was a BDF, for the brigadier general, and so there are other security officers involved and so we cannot cast this blame against one security service department. Like I mentioned earlier, the cartels enlist any number, so whether it’s coast guard or whether it’s BDF or whether it’s police, they would enlist these security officers and so information sharing between departments has to be, has to go, has to take place… As far as I am aware, the commissioner has updated me that he and Mr. Bennett have had a conversation, have had a meeting since and they have agreed that it has to continue, that the sharing of information, because currently the coast guard is in charge of JIOC, so they are the head, so in terms of enforcement, they have to relay that information to police. I think it was unfortunate that he made those comments because there has to be that unison. We have to work together.”


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