12 officers of the law were inducted into the ranks of the Tourism Police Unit last week Friday May 29th at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. All 12 of those constables have since been posted at the Caracol Archeological site located in the Chiquibul Rain Forest. Last year that site was subject of much controversy as it turned into the murder scene of Tourism Police officer Daniel Conorquie who, it was believed, was shot and killed at the hands of Guatemalan poachers. Not only was that a shot to one of Belize’s law officers but it was a shot to Belize’s tourism industry. After that incident Government officials sat around a table and decided something urgent needed to be done. That led to this passing out ceremony of 12 Police Tourism Officers. Inspector Carla Gamboa, the Deputy Commanding Officer of the Tourism Police Unit Spoke to Plus News at the ceremony last week Friday.
“After that incident which occurred on the 25th of September last year, it has boosted the initiative that we need to enhance the man power. Having two police officers posted there is never safe. There is a need in all sights because we are having an increase in tourism at all sights. Having two police officers there makes it difficult for the officers to execute their duty effectively. After this incident, a lot of discussions and decisions were made and this is where the graduation of the twelve police constables came about.”
Newly inducted 29 year old Tourism Police Officer Alberto Renolds scored the highest in the written part of the exam.
Emanuel Pech – Plus TV Reporter
“Seeing what happened the last time with Constable Danny Conarquie, it was all over the news, does that dissuade you in any way?”
“No. We are here to strengthen, We will having more officers on site and also having the assistance from the Belize Defense Force. It was a challenge one that we conquer and we can see that in the end, it was successful.”
“What sort of training did you receive.”
Constable Alberto Renolds
“Basically, the training is about the law, the Constitutional rights of Belize, how we can go about assisting and helping people in the streets. “
“These officers will be posted in San Ignacio and Benque when they are not at the site, so it will be a rotational basis – twice a month. They will do a change over exercise.”
“What are they equipped with, training wise?”
Inspector Carla Gamboa
” They have been trained to handle weapons. I just everyone to know that these officers are ex- Belize Defense Force Officers. They already have a vast knowledge of weapons training. That is the reason why they were carefully selected, because we know that the training would only be two weeks and that we wouldn’t have to extend the training to do only weapons training.”
There are 64 Tourism police officers country wide, 76 with the newly inducted constables. This is a good start, but Inspector Gamboa noted that there is still a need for more Tourism Police officers to protect this industry so vital to the Belizean economy.