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ComPol Chester Williams chairs Interpol-sponsored regional police organizations meeting in Belize

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2023. 10:54 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel was arguably the safest place in Belize today as chiefs and directors of regional police organizations from Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Caribbean attended the 28th Ordinary General Assembly of the Chiefs and Directors of Police for Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, and Mexico.

Not only is Belize hosting, but Commissioner of the Belize Police Department, Chester Williams, is presiding as he was elected to lead the organization in June.

He told reporters: “As the president, it is my duty to ensure that I provide good leadership and guidance to this esteemed commission. And so, as we assemble today and tomorrow to discuss our achievements over the past year and to plan the roadmap for 2024 in terms of how we will be policing the Central American region, it is important that we realize that we cannot just police the region with just the police organizations that are based within the Central American, Colombia, Mexico, and Caribbean region, but also there needs to be collaboration between our commission and the ACCP (Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police.) As you would know the Caribbean stands right next to Central America and it is only right that we incorporate the Caribbean into our discussions.”

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs, who addressed the session added that crime is being looked at from both a regional as well as national standpoint: “…this is where you receive an ultra-holistic approach to crime in the sense that it is all of these countries coming together to strategize, to share information, to share intelligence and to come up with a strategy for the region in combating not just transnational crime but crime within our respective jurisdictions – whatever form that may take.”

The session is minus Guatemala and Panama which are facing ongoing protests, but including Haiti and the Bahamas to represent the Caribbean.

Commissioner Williams outlined the priority areas of discussion: “…transnational crime; the issue of drug trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, auto theft, and cybercrime. Those are the main crimes that we would target when it comes to our regional operations. And so, our discussion over the next two days is going to be centered around those types of crime as well as to see how we could incorporate other areas that we believe may be essential to citizen security within the Central American region.”

Kareem Musa noted that especially in the area of drug trafficking, collaboration between security agencies has been key in tracking and taking down drug planes northbound from South America. Greater efforts will be made, he said, to improve data sharing and hash out a regional crime-fighting strategy: “All of our jurisdictions are prone to flights not just taking off, but landing within our respective jurisdictions and so that is certainly one of the main points that’s going to be highlighted today and is going to be addressed in the form of a strategy by this cohort of commissioners.”

Sponsorship was provided by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

 

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