With the recent arrest and charge of two police men, a Belizean civilian, and two Mexicans in connection to the landing of a drug plane in the north, there has been much discourse regarding Belize’s fight against the drug trafficking trade. Several planes have been landed in recent months; some burned after they delivered their cargo, others just abandoned. There have also been a few which landed and after accomplishing their task, lifted off and went on their way. The fact that an aircraft was actually intercepted while its cargo of cocaine was being unloaded has been viewed as quite an accomplishment for the Belize Police department. Today, the Acting Prime Minister was asked if he believes that GOB has been doing well in fighting crime in the nation. Here is how he responded.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: The number one reason why we continue to be smack in the middle of all of this, the gang violence, the drug violence and all of that is because of our location, and we must never let people forget that. The reason why drug planes see Belize as a target is because we’re a small nation. We don’t have the ability to police the borders in the manner in which we would like. It is evident that planes that land here are not trans…. Passes through Belize in an effort to get to the United States. If we were not geographically located here, that kind of trouble would not exist for us. So, we must always remember that and keep that in mind, and so the government does it best to try and ensure that our citizens understand as well that that is not the way to go. We’ve tried to provide as you’ve seen many programs. We have right now in the City, the gateway program that offers positive alternatives. Many of them are undersubscribed because simply put, the gang world and the drug world seems to be more attractive than those options that are offered to them, but that does not mean that we should give up. We should continue on a dailybasis and that is what we have done especially under Prime Minister Barrow to try and ensure that our citizenry understand that there is a better way of surviving out here; but those factors that come about because we are smack in the middle of the drug trade are very real and provide a very real opportunity for people, but we must not give up and we must continue fighting.
And what is the Minister’s comment regarding the fact that police officers have been charged in connection to the drug plane landing?
Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: It was indeed sad but as I think it was commissioner Whylie who said that there are good cops and there are bad cops. Even in our own families there are some family members there are some that are wayward and some that are doing the right things. This is how it is. Once there are human beings involved in any entity, there will be that element of wrong doing at times. So it really puts a black eye on the police if that is indeed the case. I believe people are innocent until proven guilty, but if it is that police officers, especially the kind of senior ranking police officers that we have been hearing about are involved in that, then that is indeed sad. We ought to be taking measures against certain officers who are giving the department a black eye.