Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2023. 9:43 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: While it may be for various reasons and in differing circumstances, the Belize Police Department has been losing many officers at younger ages than expected due to health complications, some caused by the high stress of the office they hold.
This morning, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams shared a special message to his officers reiterating that their health is even more important than their jobs: “We are seeing a trend where many of our young officers are dying [due] to diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. I also stressed to them in my message this morning to also, if it is they are suffering from any of these illnesses, that they take their medication as prescribed by the doctor. Many times, we have these officers who are suffering from these chronic diseases and they don’t take their medication because they are feeling well, and my thing to them is to not take anything for granted. Even if you are feeling well, take the medication because something can change in a matter of seconds, and that medication is what you will need to save you. I also touched on the issue of healthy living, meaning they take half hour every morning to work out. Staying in [top] physical condition is important, especially since we have a high-stress job.”
A candid Williams admitted that fried chicken is practically police officers’ meal of choice ‘tea, dinner, tea’ – and it’s not healthy for them. While he himself has a stomach ailment that necessitates medication, he said he tries to eat healthily and spends no less than 90 minutes daily working out in the gym and suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
The Police Department maintains a gym paid for by Lord Michael Ashcroft’s charity fund at Department headquarters on Queen Street, Belize City, the ‘Fit for Duty’ Gym which opened last year. According to Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa, Over-40 football teams have been revived for officers of that age to get exercise and the Ministry of Health has signed a memorandum of understanding to provide services to officers in the Belize District.
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