BELIZE CITY, Fri. Aug. 7, 2020– Letters of Suspension from duties for 2 months were issued today to three high-ranking police officers by Commissioner of Police Chester Williams. The officers are ACP Alden Dawson, Regional Commander, Belize District; Sr. Superintendent Daniel Arzu, Region 1 Commander; and ASP Edlin Lorenzo, Commander of the GSU. The announcement was made by Commissioner Williams today.
Commissioner Williams said that before the 5-day administrative leave on which the officers had been placed expired, a letter concerning the 60-day suspension was sent to the CEO in the Ministry of National Security and the National Services Commission for approval so that the suspension of the officers could go into effect immediately after the 5-day administrative leave had expired.
The third action against the officers, according to Commissioner Williams, will be disciplinary charges at the end of the suspension period.
The disciplinary action is being taken against the officers as a result of the mayhem that occurred at the Port of Belize compound on Caesar Ridge Road in Belize City on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 22, when the GSU (Gang Suppression Unit) used violence against stevedores and workers of the Port of Belize who were protesting peacefully over salary cuts and the abrupt termination (via text message) of 36 workers by the Port of Belize.
The protesters were tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets, after which they were forcefully removed from the compound. During the police assault, seven protesters were injured.
The shooting and use of unnecessary force were carried out without the knowledge, or orders, of the Commissioner of Police.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams was angered by what unfolded and said that this was unwarranted force. He said that on that day, he had told the commander on the ground, ACP Alden Dawson, that the protesters were protesting peacefully and that they could remain on the compound. He noted that this is a democratic country, and that they were free to protest, as long as they were peaceful.