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Compol and PM react to LOO’s “narco-state” claims

GeneralCompol and PM react to LOO’s “narco-state” claims

Photo: Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 9, 2024

In response to the narco-state comments made by the Leader of the Opposition (LOO), Hon. Shyne Barrow following last week’s murder in the Corozal District, both Belize’s Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, and Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño have condemned his statements as reckless and baseless.

Commissioner Williams criticized Barrow for inaccurately portraying Belize as a “narco-state,” and dismissed his suggestion to involve NGOs in northern security operations as impractical.

“He continues to make some very reckless comments that … I think that he needs to be properly advised; and maybe sometimes he needs to shut his mouth before spewing nonsense,” Williams stated.

Prime Minister Briceño also expressed his concern about the potential harm such statements could cause to Belize’s international reputation.

“I think it’s unfortunate and reckless on his part, and I hope that people would call him out for being so reckless when it comes to Belize. We could fight on many issues, but when it comes to the country, we must always speak in one voice,” he said, urging the public to recognize the irresponsibility of such comments.

These responses came after Barrow attributed a recent surge in violence, including the murder of Benito Canela in Patchakan Village, to alleged narco operations in northern Belize.

Canela, a 28-year-old father of two, was killed in a shooting incident that Barrow described as a “cartel-related hit.” He criticized the police force’s handling of the situation, and claimed there were high officials in the Briceño administration involved in the supposed narco infiltration of Corozal.

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