25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
Remembering Policeman Smith
P.C Smith was stationed in San Pedro in the 1970’s. He was one hell of a good officer- friendly when he had to be, polite when it was due, and strict when the need arose. He was one hell of a good officer- so soft yet so tough. He had his wife and children in San Pedro and I guess that made him all the best for he had to live up as a role model to his family as well. His daughter, Lavern, attended San Pedro High and was a great softball player. When she came to San Pedro, she did not know one word of Spanish, and by the time she graduated, she passed Spanish R.S.A. with distinction. I would hope Smitty and Lavern are still around and get to read this compliment.
P.C. Smitty was everyone’s friend. He spent a lot of his spare time at Daddy’s Club playing billiards. He was great at it. Everyone on the streets said “Hi” to him for he always carried a smile and gave the impression that he was here to help Sanpedranos in their law and order affairs. One day he gave permission to a group of fellows to have a dance at Daddy’s Club. A fight broke up at about eleven p.m. and Smitty said, “That’s it fellows. This bar will be closed and I want everyone home and off the streets.” Some of his friends thought they could make him change his mind and decided to remain in the dance hall. P.C. Smitty knew that there could be trouble, so he grabbed the billiard stick, the cue, and started wielding it in the air. “If you do not move out when by the time I approach you, you will be hit, and it will not be my fault because I have warned you to go home. I have no friends right now. I only have people to protect.” There is no need to say more. Everyone vanished immediately and I believe he did the right thing.
On another occasion, there was this big fist fight and someone had been hit with a beer bottle on the head. Smitty arrested several guys and wanted to lock them in the jail so that he could process the case. He knew he could not lock guys who had been fighting in the same cell, so he took a stick and drew a circle on the ground and said, “This is your cell and you are now locked in here. If you leave, I shall have you prosecuted for another crime- that of escaping from the police.” There is no need to say more. The guy just sat in the circle, the imaginary cell that Smitty had made for that special occasion.
One day in 1973, at exactly twelve noon, there was a gunshot. The girls who processed lobster at the fishing cooperative had just left their job to go home for lunch. A guy from Corozal Town was in love with this young San Pedro girl and because he could not get her love, he shot her dead right on the street. (May her soul rest in peace) I remember Smitty ran past my house with the words, “Panadero just shot a girl. I am after him. It will either be him or me.” Smitty kept running and I was afraid of what could happen. Then I heard another bang. I thought, either Panadero or Smitty was dead. Then I heard the news that Panadero had shot himself after killing his girlfriend. But even up until today, I think of the courage of this brave police officer, who was to put his life at risk in order to protect us here in San Pedro.
P.C. Smitty was one hell of a good officer. He was friendly yet strict. He knew when he had to be soft and when to be rough. Everyone in San Pedro used to like him, even when he was making tough decisions against some people who had broken the law. He knew that his job was to protect life and property and he lived to do just that. Twenty Five Years Ago salutes him and invites all officers to follow his steps. P.C. Smitty was here to serve and he served with distinction.