Police will pay their debt to Pedro’s Inn
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams says come hell or high water, the one hundred and seventeen-thousand-dollar bill at Pedro’s Inn in San Pedro Town will be paid. ComPol spoke of his plans to speak with the tourism stakeholders on the island but does not know how much money they will donate, if any at all. Nevertheless, he said that whatever they offer, the police department will be more than happy to pay the difference. Meanwhile there are still six officers staying at Pedro’s Inn, despite instructions from the ComPol to vacate. As it turns out, though, Lawrence is allowing those officers to stay, free of charge, until they can relocate.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “As I said before that I had given instructions that the officers are to vacate immediately. I have been told reliably and I do very well believe that there are still officers staying at Pedro’s Inn. I have since had that discussion with Mr.Noble and from what he has said to me is that the proprietor has agreed to house the officers for free until they could find somewhere else. So if it is that he is being nice and housing them for free for a little while until they could find somewhere else I am grateful for that. As a matter of fact Mr.Peter Lawrence is a very outstanding business man and he has worked extremely well with the police in San Pedro even assisting in renovating the police station so he is not a bad person. If it is that he is clamouring for his payment that we owe him, as I said before we owe the man we have to pay him. We’re not going to be like those malpagos and don’t want to pay our bills, it will not look good on us so the bill will be paid.”
Reporter: You said that it had to be shared, that you might pay half of it but you won’t pay a hundred thousand dollars.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I didn’t say half, I said that I am going to meet with the other stakeholders, the town council, BTB the san Pedro Chapter and we’re going to see how we can pay the bill but the bottom line is the man has to be paid.”
Reporter: Has that meeting with those stakeholders happened ?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “No I am hoping to go to San Pedro next week and then we’ll have that meeting. The police has barrack rooms in San Pedro to accommodate police officers. The barrack rooms are full to capacity, because of the situation in San Pedro then the people; BTB, the San Pedro Chapter of BTIA, the town council, all ask for additional police officers to be on the island. We agreed we saw the need we sent out the officers. The officers cannot be left to stay out on the streets and so it was not something that we had planned for, it was a situation that had come up and it had to be addressed and so emergency action had to be put in place to get the officers out there and there is how the bill came about.”
Moving forward, the Commissioner said that he is looking at refurbishing rooms in the DFC area of San Pedro Town for those officers to be stationed permanently. Commanding officer on the island, Superintendent Christopher Noble, also stated they are looking to build a police barracks to accommodate more officers in San Pedro.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We’re looking at the officers instead of being temporary we’re going to transfer them to San Pedro and so San Pedro will become their post and then we are going to give them all the allowances and with that they should be able to pay for their own accommodations so that is what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Reporter: Are you concerned about moving them into the DFC area knowing that the DFC area is known to harbor some criminals ?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Of course we do have two houses in the DFC area that we will be renovating and some of them will be staying there.”
Reporter: But it’s an area that is known to harbor some criminals. I know police have to live in their communities that’s real..
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Well more than likely the police being there, living there might slow down the criminal activities so we’ll see how that works out.”
Supt. Christopher Neal, Commanding Officer, San Pedro and Caye Caulker: “The department has several buildings and we are working on refurbishing and the last idea speaking to business persons on the island that that person would assist us in looking into probably build a barrack room to get more officers on the island. Our numbers are few but we want to develop this into something more. The DFC area is- as I would say there is no bad person on San Pedro, the island is very safe so how would the police be afraid or scared to be in any particular area at any one time ?”
Due to the noticeable decrease in crime on the island, the ComPol is confident that the community will assist in the police’s endeavors.
Police Plan to Pay Pedro
Last night we spoke to the proprietor of Pedro's Inn on San Pedro, Peter Lawrence. He discussed the $117,000 dollar balance that the police department had for him for the accommodation of police officers at his hotel since June of last year.
Initially, the COMPOL had said he was taken aback by the bill - and would not be paying all that. Today, though, speaking at the Training Academy in Belmopan, he took a softer stance:..
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I have been told reliably and I do very well believe that there are still officers staying at Pedro's Inn. I have since had that discussion with Mr. Noble and from what he has since said to me, is that the proprietor has agreed to house the officers for free until they could find somewhere else. So if it is that he, being nice and housing them for free for a little while until you can find somewhere else, I am grateful for that. As a matter of fact, Mr. Peter Lawrence is a very outstanding businessman and he has worked extremely well with the police in San Pedro, even assisting with renovating the police station. So he's not a bad person. If it is that he is clamoring for his payment that we owe him, as I said before, we owe the man, we have to pay him. We're not going to be like those malpagos and don't want to pay our bills and it will not look good on us. So the bill will be paid."
"Isn't that a different tone from what you took last Monday though. Correct me if I'm wrong."
"I guess Channel Five still don't get it. I said last week Monday that we have racked up a bill and the man is a businessman and he must be paid. Isn't that what I said?"
"You said sir, that it had to be shared, that you might pay half of it but you will not pay a hundred thousand dollars."
"I didn't say half. I said that I am going to meet with the other stakeholders, the town council, B.T.B., the San Pedro chapter and we're going to see how we can pay the bill, but the bottom line is the man has to be paid."
"Has that meeting with those stakeholders happened?"
"No, I am hopig to go to San Pedro next week and then we have that meeting."
"Why is the department though seeking financial assistance from other stakeholders when it should be part of the department's mandate to be able to take care of its accommodations of its men and women?"
"The police have barrack rooms in San Pedro to accommodate police officers. The barrack rooms are full to capacity. Because of the situation in San Pedro then, the people, BTB, San Pedro Chapter of BTIA, Town Council - all ask for additional police officers to be on the island. We agree, we saw the need, we send out the officers. The officers cannot be left to stay out on the streets. Whether or not that anybody responsibility the bill is there and we must pay it. How we will get the money to pay it, we will find it. As I've said we will talk with the other stakeholders. I am sure that they will understand and they will help us, even if it's with a dollar, they will help us and whatever it is that they cannot afford then we will take up the tab to pay the rest."
San Pedro OC Confident of Payment
We also spoke to Superintendent Chris Noble. He is the officer in charge of San Pedro - and is Lawrence's main point of contact.
He and the hotel owner have a good relationship - so much so that Lawrence has agreed as of last week - to give him three rooms for free.
Noble says they are working it out:
Supt. Chris Noble, OC, San Pedro
"As to the bill, it was inherited, it was prior to me going on the island and some cheques were made and we will definitely work on getting Mr. Lawrence what is due him. Mr. Lawrence is a very cooperative person when it comes to what we have been doing and how we intend to go forward. As a matter of fact the commissioner and I had a conversation about it and it is something that we need to clear up and we are hoping that the partners have been contacted and will come onboard with us and even the community."
"Is it a case though taken that it is a cynical interpretation that the police department holding a gun to the community's head? Forgive that cross analogy, saying that oh you all want security, well security has a cost, you all better find a way to put our officers."
Supt. Chris Noble, OC, San Pedro
"The community has no need to have that, whether it is that it came across that way or not. We are working together. The police is a part of the community and the community is a part of the police. We come from them. The police department does have its finances, albeit, like everywhere else we do have issues, but it's being cleared up."
Lawrence says he believes he will get paid and stresses he was not the one who publicized the story.