And while Senior Supe Willaims and his teams were doing their thing on the Southside - hardly a mile away at the Belcan Bridge - there's a 24 hour checkpoint waiting for everyone crossing over from Southside to north.. It's a new policing strategy where these checkpoints have been installed at all four bridged connecting the northside and the south. But it it discriminatory? Because it almost seems to suggest that criminals travel from the Southside to the north - when it's really not that clear cut. Today we asked Williams about it:

Supt. Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division South
"The checkpoint, I must say at times are very inconvenient, but at the end of the day, we must understand that crime is everyone's business and the commander on north side do have her responsibility and the obligation to ensure that crime on her side of the city remains at the minimal. And if they believe that the checkpoint is one way of doing that, then by all means that is the way to go."

Reporter
"Sir I think that question was really because of the fact that the placement of those checkpoints is really just seeing people from south side going across to the north side. It seems kind of bias that only people from south side do crime."

Monica Bodden
"Or it is like saying that south side people are suspects coming over to the north side."

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams
"Well I don't know if that is the reason because the truth of the matter is that is north side do have criminals as well. And I think that the correct person to answer that question would be Miss Phillips; she knows the reason why. And I personally don't have an issue with the checkpoint. If for example people from south side have the propensity of going over the north side to commit crime, then by all means she needs to put things in place to ensure that she knows who are coming over to her side of the city because she, just like me, has an obligation to do much as she can to ensure that the persons living on that side of the city are safe on a daily basis."

The checkpoints are now a semi permanent feature at the northern foot of all four city bridges - but the checkpoints are often lax.

Channel 7


Is the Placement of Police Checkpoints a Result of Profiling?

On August fifteen, a deadly fight took place on Newtown Barracks in Belize City. It occurred near the entrance to the MCC Grounds across from the Ramada Belize City Princess. Four residents from the Lake Independence area: Mark Benguche, Austin Rowland, Eugene Arana and Joel Bishop were viciously attacked by a group of men, reportedly from the Supal Street gang. Joel Bishop was stomped multiple times in the head and ran over by a vehicle and died within hours at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. There have still not been any arrests for that homicide, but since then checkpoints have been set up, twenty-four-seven, at the northern approach of all the bridges in the city. It’s a strategy that was implemented by the Eastern Division North to address criminal activities on their side of the city. But for some, the checkpoints are discriminatory because it would appear that it is targeting persons traveling over to the north side as suspects. The implications are disturbing for some south side residents and today, Eastern Division South Regional Commander, Chester Williams, was asked to weigh-in on the concern. 

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South

“The checkpoint, I must say at times are very inconvenient, but at the end of the day, we must understand that crime is everyone’s business and the commander on north side do have her responsibility and the obligation to ensure that crime on her side of the city remains at the minimal. And if they believe that the checkpoint is one way of doing that, then by all means that is the way to go.”

Duane Moody

“Sir I think that question was really because of the fact that the placement of those checkpoints is really just seeing people from south side going across to the north side. It seems kind of bias that only people from south side do crime.”

Reporter

“Or it is like saying that south side people are suspects coming over to the north side.”

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“Well I don’t know if that is the reason because the truth of the matter is that is north side do have criminals as well. And I think that the correct person to answer that question would be Miss Phillips; she knows the reason why. And I personally don’t have an issue with the checkpoint. If for example people from south side have the propensity of going over the north side to commit crime, then by all means she needs to put things in place to ensure that she knows who are coming over to her side of the city because she, just like me, has an obligation to do much as she can to ensure that the persons living on that side of the city are safe on a daily basis.”

Channel 5