Presidents of all the different neighborhood watches on the island were summoned at an emergency meeting with Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Mayor Elsa Paz on Thursday, March 17, to tackle the main issue that is affecting our island at the moment – Crime.
A recent crime spree on the island has residents on alert and many neighborhoods in fear. The emergency meeting was called in order to come up with an agenda of important issues to present to the Minister of Defense and National Security. Hon. Heredia is to present these issues to his colleagues in Government and the Minister of National Security who will sit down on a private meeting along with all the neighborhood watch presidents that is scheduled to take place today.
Issues on the agenda included: improving the lack of resources of the San Pedro Police Department, a security and patrol plan for the upcoming Easter break, Boosting Belize Defense Force (BDG) personnel on the island, private and professional training for private security officers and monitoring of arrivals at the local water taxi terminals.
Hon. Heredia assured the town folks that the Ministry of National Security is working on an updated plan that will step up the security forces on the island. He conceded that government has much room for improvement in a number of key areas, but assured that the concerns of the island will be submitted and addressed.
With escalating reports of crime on the island, word is that cabinet has promised immediate response. The ministry of security will be implementing a plan that includes a heightened security presence on the island that will be operational during the Easter holiday season.
In the past, when the island complained of increased criminal activity cabinet immediately approved a contingent from the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and the anti-drugs/anti-gang task force (ADU) to be dispatched to the island.
One of the main concerns of the presidents of the neighborhood watch groups is that our island Police Department lacks many resources which can make it run more efficiently and with more positive results. Although resources are limited, Hon. Heredia commented that Cabinet will do its best to provide any additional forces necessary to assist in keeping Belize’s number one tourism destination safe. Plans to have the tourism police force back on track and patrolling the beaches and other areas that are frequented by tourists are also set to commence.