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More wanted gangsters captured under State of Emergency; Commissioner again defends Leadership Intervention Unit

Posted: Wednesday, August 2, 2023. 6:18 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: At the start of the holiday weekend, parts of Belize City saw scores of police officers and soldiers of the Belize Defence Force pour in to search for wanted individuals accused of not keeping the peace.

After a full weekend of the third State of Emergency in the City in as many years, Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police said on Tuesday that more of those who originally eluded them have been caught: “We have detained some of them, yes, and they should be transported to prison today and there are still some more who are being sought.”

But while the Commissioner and Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa were at pains last week to insist that this version of the State of Emergency would not greatly impact law-abiding citizens residing in the outlined areas, one woman complained that police raided her house looking for a gang member but found none.

As Williams noted, “It’s not just anybody’s house the police goes and raids, if not they would have gone to your house, [but] they didn’t go there… I am sure that there are many other people who live within the SOE area and the police didn’t go to their homes. The police must have had some information that took them there.”

And once again the Commissioner defended the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU), whose model has come under attack in recent months. While he admits some LIU members were swept up in the SOE raids, which just proves that they are not immune and that the program is still working: “In any organization you go you find that maybe somebody who is not going to toe the line of the organization. It’s just human nature. The fact that we have persons who are a part of LIU who as expected of them should not mean that the entire program is not good. If the program saves 1, 2 or 3 or 4 lives it works. When like what someone said to me, if you save a life, you save a generation and that is true. The fact that we have detained some persons who are connected to LIU or who are from LIU as a part of the SOE, it goes to show that being a member of LIU is not a get-out-of-jail-free card because some might have that mentality that oh, because I am a part of LIU, they can’t do me anything. No. When you are part of LIU, expect that you are going to do things that are in line with LIU standards, and the minute you step out of that, then you must be sanctioned. It’s as simple as that.”

He added, “While we look at one particular area that is a part of LIU and they have, we can also look at the other 10 areas that are a part that really and truly holding up. So if you have 1 out of 10, how could it be that it’s failing? It shows that it’s still working.”


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