Belizean Citizens Call for Competent Commissioner as Crime and Violence Continue Unabated
By: Omar Silva, NP Staff Writer
Belize City, 29th July 2023
In the face of escalating violence and crime rates in Belize City and across the nation, citizens are expressing mounting concerns over the leadership of Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams. Despite his attempts to paint a rosy picture of reduced crime, recent events, including the declaration of a State of Emergency in Belize City, have exposed the ineptitude and lack of transparency in addressing the pressing issue of public safety.
Less than a week ago, Commissioner Williams boasted of a supposed reduction in violent crimes, attributing it to a crime-fighting strategy implemented by the Belize Police Department and various law enforcement arms, such as the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU). However, these claims have been met with skepticism, as they seem to diverge sharply from the grim reality unfolding on the streets.
The recent declaration of a State of Emergency in three notorious gang-ridden areas of Belize City serves as a glaring testament to the unabated violence plaguing the nation. This emergency measure was deemed a last resort to confront the ongoing gang warfare, which claimed three lives in recent incidents, including the tragic killing of James Escarpeta in the George Street area. The SOE has resulted in the detention of twenty-five alleged gang members, with fifteen others still being hunted down by authorities.
Citizens have grown weary of the Commissioner's attempts to downplay the severity of the situation and cast doubt on crime statistics. They demand a leader who will confront the issues head-on and acknowledge the grim realities of violence and crime. Rather than obscuring the truth behind ambiguous statistics, the government must appoint a competent Commissioner of Police who will implement a radical change and develop a new strategy to ensure the safety and well-being of the people.
Calls for a leadership change have gained momentum, with many citizens expressing the need for a transformative figure who will bring about a comprehensive plan to combat crime. Such an individual must not only possess a deep understanding of law enforcement dynamics but also demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability.
Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, has also joined the chorus of critics, emphasizing that crime should be treated as a public health crisis. He has called for diverse solutions, including offering opportunities for at-risk youth to develop skills and improve their lives, rather than solely relying on measures like the State of Emergency.
As the situation in Belize City and beyond continues to deteriorate, it is crucial for the government to act decisively and replace the Commissioner of Police with a competent and visionary leader. The citizens of Belize deserve a Commissioner who will bring about tangible results, put an end to embarrassment, and safeguard their fundamental right to safety and security. Only with a Commissioner willing to confront the true reality of crime and violence can the nation hope for a brighter and safer future.