Fisheries Officer Under Suspicion Gets Transferred
On Thursday, the San Pedro Sun broke a sensational story based on a leaked internal memorandum from San Pedro police. The document dated 16th October is directed to the Head of the Fisheries Department and it directly implicates a fisheries officer for being involved in drug trafficking. The officer in question was assigned to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye. The memo says that he used his fisheries vessel to transport the beachcombers who look for wet drops on the north end of Ambergris Caye. The police say he was also caught with a drug dealer who had three pounds of marijuana and fifteen thousand dollars in cash and charged with drug trafficking. The police conclude that he poses a serious security threat to the reserve because reports say he is wanted dead by the Mexican cartel.
Very serious allegations, and while the report is dated mid October - the fisheries Director says it wasn't emailed to her until Tuesday of this week. Today the CEO in the Ministry told us they have acted on it:..
Adele Catzim-Sanchez, CEO - Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, Sust. Dev.
"Yes we have received this information. The officer has since been relief of his responsibilities and is no longer located at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. We are working with the Ministry of National Security to investigate the matter. At this point these are the allegations that are being made, but we are still taking them seriously because there are some grave security concerns that are related to this issue. In the meantime we decided that the officer will be engaging in limited duties under a very strict supervision and until the investigations are concluded we will figure out how we deal with the situation through the public service. What we do believe is that something like this is serious enough to pay very keen attention to the issue and to make sure that we collect all the facts related to the matter, so that we can act in an informed way to address the issue."
"How do we safeguard ourselves against this going forward? Yes that officer may be moved, but then enticement is still there. These people offer large amounts of money and the fisheries officers at some point they represent security of transport for illicit cargo."
"Jules what you are referring to is something that is much bigger than the Fisheries Department, even bigger than the government itself. You are referring to international organized trade and illegal activity. What I can say is that our ministry is working very closely with the Ministry of National Security to try to put in place mitigation measures in relation to security for all our officers."
The Director of the Fisheries Department told us that she has written to the Commissioner of Police to launch a formal investigation since the report sent was mostly allegations.
Internal Police Memo Fingers Fisheries Officer in Drug Trafficking
On Thursday, the news broke of an internal memo from Assistant Superintendent of Police Henry Jemott, Deputy Coastal Executive Officer, to the Head of the Fisheries Department. The memo is dated October sixteenth, and in it Jemott is making serious allegations against a fisheries officer stationed at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. He says that that officer has confessed to being involved in large scale drug trafficking, and is in fact marked for death by the Mexican cartel. Interestingly enough, while Jemott states repeatedly that the individual has confessed to being involved in criminal activity, he wasn’t arrested. All the ASP is asking is for the fisheries officer to be removed from that post immediately because of the threat from the cartel. Incredible allegations for sure, and the memo was copied to both the Minister and C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, as well as the Officer Commanding Eastern Division and the Commissioner of Police. Today we spoke to C.E.O. Lovell, who told us that both he and the Commissioner of Police were completely unaware of the internal memo from the Deputy Coastal Executive Officer.
Ret’d. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security
“Normally things like this Mike, I would have expected that if the police had sufficient to arrest, they would arrest. They are the police. Obviously from just looking at what I see here, they don’t have sufficient to take criminal proceedings and so they are asking the department responsible to take some sort of administrative action. That’s what I read from this.”
“Would you go so far as to support that action because I thought that it was a good move? If we don’t have enough to arrest, but we are aware that there is a threat…”
Ret’d. Col. George Lovell
“Oh yes, I support these things. Man, I am the one who has the charge to administer a ministry which should ensure that law and order and the rule of law and order is maintained in this country. So if you have people who are doing things like this, I am the first to say, yes, let’s get rid of him. We have no fate in them; we have no place for them without our systems.”
“Now sir, finally now on this thing. Where is the…should I say miscommunication? I refer back to this letter from Diana Hall on the tourism police thing. And you have some people saying this never did reach where it was supposed to go. In this one, this is three weeks now this was sent and apparently it never reached anybody. Or whoever it reached never passed it on.”
Ret’d. Col. George Lovell
“We have to look at our systems. I don’t know exactly where the breakdown is but we have to look at our whole system. Matters like this first of all should have been classified; it shouldn’t have been sent out in a memorandum. This means it should have been hand-delivered; somebody should have been signed for it. We should have had records of all copies that had been produced and it should have been treated with a level of classification that I believe it warrants.”
We were unable to reach the head of the Fisheries Department for comment today. We chose to not reveal the name of the Fisheries officer until we can confirm the allegations against him.