Sunday, January 25, 2009
CABINET MEMBER FOR SECURITY VISITS CAYO WEST BELIZE
POLITICIAN POLICE MINISTER FROM THE NATIONAL CABINET, VISITS CAYO WEST DISTRICT FOR THE SECOND TIME SINCE BEING ELECTED A YEAR AGO.
The Cabinet Minister of National Security, Carlos Perdomo was elected to office in February 7th, 2008 and then duly appointed as Cabinet Minister for National Security by his winning party leader Dean Barrow, who had automatically became Prime Minister from the election.
Minister Perdomo accompanied by the Commissioner of our National Police, Gerald Westby Esq., arrived on the morning of January 22nd., 2009. The small detachment of police at the San Ignacio police department, a district headquarters, formed an honor guard to receive these distinguished visitors to our Western Belize area. The officer in charge of the honor guard was Sr. Superintendent Paul Wade. The police station has recently been refurbished and repainted with donations from the community of the TWIN TOWNS, merchant center of the Cayo district. The Belize Government is broke and operating on a recently re-newed, by the UDP newly elected government, using a deficit foreign loan borrowing budget operating system. So many government departments including the police are under funded. The government revenues are adequate on an austerity well managed budget system, but as usual with a new political party in power, they want to spend more than is available, so after six years of PUP austerity ( the PUP lost the election ) the new UDP government are putting the nation in increased foreign borrowing debt. Will this help policing? Very unlikely. Some $200 million of borrowed money is going to be infused in the productive sector infra-structure over this year of 2009. Mostly road repairs.
The Cayo District has a number of outlying small police stations, usually in smaller towns and occasionally in villages. The most frequent crimes are theft of goods left in cars by people shopping, some burglaries, hold ups by armed masked men of stores and businesses, drunken quarrels and machete and knife fights. There are a number of drug arrests, usually to do with marijuana, which is a back country sideline business for some farmers and these are usually caught by public tip offs, or road police check points search teams. Guatemalan bandits periodically, every couple of years, come through the jungle from over the border and set up a type of stage coach robbery road block, for people traveling in cars on back roads. These are normally dealt with, not by the police but by the small 800 man Belize Defense Force army, on patrols. There is growing cooperation between Guatemalan and Belize police forces and army personnel of both countries. Life in Western Belize is for most people, quite tranquil. Every few years some horrific murder occurs, which distresses the Western population and the cries for police action are loud and very vocal. Police response is usually swift. The methodology most favored, is to figure out who did it and then beat a confession out of them.
The police force of Belize is the inherited BRITISH COLONIAL MODEL and is distorted sometimes by whichever political party is in power, who use promotions as a seduction of the professionalism of the force to political victimization ends. Most policemen do not have high school diplomas and the methodology of police work, especially in rural areas is rough and ready. Torture, beatings and temporary incarceration over the weekends for a few days is common enough, if you read the complaints in the newspapers. There has been many attempts in the last few decades to lift up the evidence forensic gathering, abilities of the police, but to no avail so far, according to the newspapers. Witness intimidation is common. There is absolutely no success by the police to deal with the crimes of politicians, plundering the government treasury. Rarely if ever, do the police attempt such a thing, as the political party in power is their boss. Since the police fall under the control of the political party in power, as favored by the aristocratic Empire building British Colonial model, this is an unfortunate price to pay in the system we use. Most low level ordinary police work is fairly good and deals with the nitty gritty details of common, low class crime, by criminals and drunks. The crime of most annoyance, is opportunistic crime, not necessarily pre-meditated crime. Usually by thefts of equipment.
That said; you are safer in Cayo West than in Miami, Florida, or Denver, Colorado. For the circumstances, we have mostly ordinary crimes, and the police force is effective.
The two man inspection team of higher ups, visited the villages of Georgeville, Santa Elena Town, San Antonio town. Many of the larger villages and a couple of small towns were skipped.