Posted: Friday, June 28, 2019. 8:17 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The National Security Council of Belize (NSC), chaired by the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow met in special session yesterday, June 27, in Belmopan to discuss the crisis arising out of the recent murder of American tourist, Dr. Gary Swank, in San Pedro.
The council recorded its grave concern over the tragic development and its implications particularly for the tourism industry in Ambergris Caye and nationally.
The council extend condolences to the family of the deceased.
“It also noted that there was no targeting of the tourist and that his murder was made even more tragic by the fact that he was an innocent victim of a dispute between his tour guide and the murderer. Those very circumstances underscore the critical need for our authorities to do better at increasing security both for our citizens and our visitors,” a statement from the council reaffirms.
The NSC agreed to some immediate measures that will later be expanded after the return of the National Security Minister, John Saldivar to the country, and after a more robust consultation with Cabinet and stakeholders:
1. At once, new special police personnel will be hired to boost law enforcement numbers in San Pedro;
2. Additional law enforcement equipment will be allocated to improve police response time;
3. New permanent checkpoints will be placed in strategic locations on Ambergris Caye, including the reopening of the Tres Cocos police booth;
4. Police cameras will be mounted at hot spots and areas of particular security concern; and
5. The Belize Coast Guard will now play an integral role in ensuring security at sea and in the lagoon at Ambergris Caye.
The NSC further informed that Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams is in San Pedro today and has assumed personal responsibility for bringing to justice the killer of the murdered tourist and tour guide.
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