Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit invited some of Belize City’s most unfortunate children to the Queen Street Police Station on Monday afternoon, December 15, for a time of dancing, feasting and merry making.

The unit issued invitations to 75 children, mostly from the Southside, but by the time the event started on the roof top of the police station there were more than one hundred youngsters present. Corporal Samuel Bonilla said, “We prepared for 75 children but I can assure you that none of them will leave here empty handed.”

Corporal Bonilla held true to that assurance, thanks in large part to Caves Branch Adventure Company. Caves Branch assigned its top chef, Executive Chef Peter Brewer, to attend the event and prepare a meal for the children. Brewer cooked rice and beans with barbecued chicken for the party. He prepared nachos for the appetizer and his assistants also served fresh fruit and a slice of cake. Brewer says he loves cooking, “but nothing can compare to the satisfaction of watching the children enjoy the meal he prepared.” He says Caves Branch’s owner, Ian Anderson, was excited to partner with the Gang Suppression Unit to bring some Christmas cheer to the children. The staff of Caves Branch even got some of their guests to participate. The Jungle Lodge launched a toy drive and guests donated gifts that were given to the children on Monday.

It was an exciting time for the children as well as the officers. They played games together like apple ducking and musical chairs. In the musical chairs competition the children competed against each other for prizes and the officers competed for bragging rights. Children won action figures, play houses and games. While in the officers competition it was the battle of the sexes. Four males versus four females. After the first four rounds there were four females and zero males. The little girls cheered loudly while the little boys stood eager to avenge their comrades. Corporal Bonilla said, “I was eliminated because my supporters got me too excited and caused me to lose focus on the music.” Luckily for him and the other male officers, young Kelvin from the Lake I area defeated the girls in the very next round.

The party ended shortly after the officers joined Santa Claus and handed out gifts to the children. The officers wore normal patrol gears throughout the event. One officer even had his disassembled service rifle strapped around his shoulders. The officers want the children and members of the community to see them as allies and not foes. Though it is a lighter side to the role of the GSU, Corporal Bonilla says, “community policing is very important to us.”
The GSU just made more than a hundred new friends.

The Guardian