As early at 4a.m. this morning, Thursday, March 20, 2014, 52 GSU soldiers were already raiding homes, searching individuals on the street, posting traffic checkpoints and confiscating drugs. Residents were alarmed at first but soon realized that the island’s local authorities had responded to their cries and were quick to bring in the GSU to the island after the sudden insurgence of crime on the island. Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. commented that after he brought up the request at the last government cabinet meeting, there was a unanimous agreement to bring the GSU to Ambergris Caye.
The Gang Suppression Unit is working independently from the San Pedro Police Department, conducting their own searches, raids and checkpoints. They are stopping every person on bicycles to conduct searches, inspecting every vehicle indiscriminately. The Unit has already made several arrests and drug busts.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today
Law enforcement agencies descend on Ambergris Caye
A contingency of law enforcement agencies consisting of members of Belize Police Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) and the Belize Defense Force (BDF) have descended on the island to tackle the surge in crime. The over 50 officers are part of an operation to “clean up” the island and purge Ambergris Caye of rogue elements that have caused havoc, contributing to a drastic increase in crime activities over the past few weeks. The law personnel were deployed in the wee hours of Thursday March 20th and by 4AM, they were out conducting early morning raids.
Residents as well as tourism stakeholders have been complaining about the spike in crime and have been calling on the government for immediate action. The sentiments were echoed during a peace rally last week in which over 400 islanders demanded that elected leaders take measures to bring the island back to normality.
According to the head of the special operation, Commander of Operation at the Eastern Division Police Department (which includes Ambergris Caye) Senior Superintendent of Police Edward Broaster, the contingency of officers that are deployed to San Pedro are operating independently of the local police force. “We are conducting our own patrols and raids given the surge of shooting incidents in San Pedro Town and on the island in general. We want to ensure that San Pedro continues to be the tranquil place it is known for and for the residents and our tourists to enjoy the island for what it is.”
The operations began on March 20th and will run indefinitely until the island can see a sense of peace and normality.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun