Cynthia Williams

What do the Belize Police Department and the Women’s Department have in common? They both have a role in tackling the issues of gender-based violence and sexual offences. And so to strengthen the police response, the Women’s Department has secured a spot for an officer from the Family Violence Unit to participate in a training session in Ottawa, Canada along with nine Caribbean colleagues. The opportunity is the result of collaboration with the Barbados based office of the UN Women Organization, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police and the Ottawa Police Services Department. It is the second phase of the “UN Women Strengthening State Accountability and Community Action to End Gender Based Violence” Project. News Five spoke today with Cynthia Williams, the Human Development Coordinator at the Women’s Department as well as P.C. Leroy Hernandez, who is ready to head out to Canada for the training.

Cynthia Williams, Human Development Coordinator, Women’s Department

“Through funding by the UN Women, the Women’s Department is pleased to offer a two week training opportunity for a police officer with the Police Services Department in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This training would happen from the eleventh, to the twenty-second of April and would provide an opportunity for Mr. Leroy Hernandez, who has been selected to represent Belize, to work along with counterparts not only from Ottawa, Ontario Canada, but also from the Caribbean. A total of ten police officers from the different countries in the Caribbean have been selected and he is representing Belize. And what they will be looking at really is at best practices and what are some of the things of how to best respond to domestic violence and sexual offences.”

Leroy Hernandez

P.C. Leroy Hernandez, Family Violence Unit, Belize Police Dept.

“I’m grateful for the Women’s Department that they actually saw the need for officers to get training and I’m glad that they chose me and I expect that when I return I get to train other officers. On a day to day basis we deal with victims of domestic violence and sometimes – come in and I guess they saw the need that the quality of service needs to improve in Belize I’m glad they got this training for police officers.”

Hernandez leaves Belize for Canada on Saturday.

Channel 5