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June 20, 2017

The Castros and the Cops

Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017. 11:19 a.m. CST.

By Lisa Shoman: I’m a fan of the amazing work that Chester Williams has done on Southside Belize City. He is also a professional colleague of mine and I admire and appreciate that he has worked so hard to earn his credentials. I believe that the decision to send him to a desk job in Belmopan is shortsighted, petty and rather vindictive- but no matter where he is sent, the ACP will find ways to shine. He sucks oxygen out of press rooms like a pro and the cameras love him. He looks, acts and sounds like the model of a modern, enlightened police officer.

Let’s get that in up front, so I don’t waste time later trying to reassure anyone that I am NOT anti-ACP Williams.

The saga of the Castro boys, Wasani and Jafari have left a sour taste in the mouth of most Jewelizeans. Here we have two privileged young men, members of the ranking UDP nomenklatura who have what New 5 Live termed “a wild weekend involving runins (sic) with Customs officers in Orange Walk….and police in Belize City”.

For almost 16 -18 hours last weekend, the Castro boys (at 21 and 23, they are legally adults) went on a rampage, in white Wingle pickup truck which reportedly had no license plates and was unlicensed loaded with, at one point , 89 cases of contraband Corona Beer, for who knows what occasion.

Bad as the confrontations were with Police in Belize City, and they were, it is not those encounters that provoke this article. It is actually the aftermath. Or should I say -the attempted facade of normality- that is so egregious, even in our jaded, cynical Jewel that it prompts this post.

By media accounts, the Castro Boys first “encountered” police “early on Friday morning at around 4:00 am – when a Belize City Southside police patrol said they were speeding on East Collet Canal in the Conch Shell Bay Area.”

By the ACP’s own account of the meeting between the boys and PC Shelrick Caliz, “The officer made checks on the vehicle and, like you said again, he found out that the vehicle had on no license sticker. Now this was brought up to the attention of one of the young men and based from the officers account one of the young men used indecent language to him.”

And accordingly, as per Williams, the young man was placed under arrest and taken to the Police Station at Precinct One (Two?) but then the tale twists, and the ACP most emphatically states, in the saga of the Castros and the Cops, “You know that each story have three sides. You have each party’s side and you have the truth.”

Apparently, from the narrative of the ACP, the truth is not on the side of the Police. This, despite 3 records being posted in the CIMS. Channel 7 reports that “CIMS is the Crime Information Management System and that has a record of every report entered by a police officers, and it describes what action was taken in terms of making arrests and pressing charges.”

There was not one CIMS report which the media reports was recorded by the police, but THREE. One by Caliz, one by PC Dionisio Coc and one by WPC Young. According to Channel Seven news, a they obtained a “copy of two more reports entered about those events early on Friday morning: One by WPC Young, and one by PC Dionicio Coc. They allege that there was actually an altercation in the police precinct one, and allege that Castro punched PC Coc.”

Incredibly, the good ACP suggests that these reports are fiction. Seven record an exchange with the ACP as follows :””At precinct one PC Dionicio Coc alleges that Wasani Castro, 23 year’s old, assaulted him.”
ACP Chester Williams – OC Eastern South Division “That’s because he had the phone on the man face provoking the man. As police officers Jules we must respect people.”
Jules Vasquez “However, PC Coc did give a statement in which he requested court action. And on the CIMS, the report that’s on the CIMS, not the first report that was on the media, the second report- number ten thousand nine six six one on the Sim system, POR- says clearly that he requested court action and that the man was handcuffed, Wasani Castro was handcuffed, charged and taken to precinct two for lock up. It says that. I can read it to you sir.”
ACP Chester Williams “That is not true though. It might be there but that is not so.”

Aside from the allegation of untruth from the ACP, PC Coc has to face the damning summation of his superior, that he “provoked” the Castro Boys. ACP Chester Williams – OC Eastern South Division
“That’s because he had the phone on the man face provoking the man.”

ACP Williams throws shade on not one, but three police officers – Caliz, Coc and Young. And WPC Young is apparently a paralegal student. Why? For what reason? How does it happen that the good ACP advocates so fiercely against his own fellow officers (during Police Week no less) and seemingly exculpate an assault against a Police officer?

We are all at a loss to understand. It is unexplainable. It is incomprehensible. And 14 hours later, the Castro boys are found by Customs in Orange Walk, in that very same white Wingle, with no license, no plates and 89 cases of contraband Corona Beer for which they have paid an undisclosed fine.

What IS easy to understand is why Police Officers are paralyzed into inaction in the face of raw power, such as what played out in the hallowed hall of the National Assembly. Because what the saga of the Castro Boys and the Cops shows, is that when nomenklatura and cops tangle, the cops may end up being the losers.

And with that, the law abiding public loses respect, impunity grows and our society breaks down bit more. We all lose, not just the Belize Police Department. The current motto of the BPD is “Working in partnership with the community for a safer Belize”. It is sadly ironic after this weekend’s rampage.

I hope ACP Williams reads this, reflects on it, and some day realizes his role in this debacle.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

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