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San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? #540055
01/14/20 06:00 AM
01/14/20 06:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,329
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

The Belize Police Department owes a San Pedro hotel over a hundred thousand dollars. The hefty hotel tab is reportedly for accommodations for officers who have been working on the island. According to the Commissioner of Police, the Belize Police Department will not pay the six figure bill in its entirety. He says that it has to be a shared responsibility. At today’s briefing, ComPol Chester Williams didn’t say exactly who else should pick up the tab but he did say that he will be meeting with industry partners.  Here’s how Williams explains it.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Yes, the police officers have been staying at a hotel in San Pedro due to the unavailability of accommodations. I had been asking questions several times last year as to who was footing the bill because I had not seen any request for payment. Certain things were said to me as it relates to who is paying the bill and suddenly I saw something came in with an arrear, as you said, a six figure arrears. It is something that we will have to discuss with the proprietor of the establishment to see what can be worked out and who is going to pay the bill. I can say for sure that the police department is not going to pay the bill in its entirety. It has to be a shared responsibility.”

Reporter

“With the community; with whom?”

Chester Williams

“We will decide that when the time comes. In the time being, I have directed that the officers vacate that hotel immediately and we are trying to see how we can find alternative accommodation for them. At the end of the day we do understand the nature of San Pedro and the fragileness of tourism industry. So, I cannot say that I am going to withdraw the officers from there but rather to say that we will seek alternative accommodations. As much as the people need the island to be safe to be able to further the tourism business then we have to work together, as you said shared responsibility, in order to ensure that we have adequate number of officers on the island to make it safe. I am sure that they would agree that for the past six months since the officers went out and the new commander was installed, they have seen a drastic reduction in crime on the island and tourism industry is coming back on stream. I don’t want it to regress; we want to ensure that whatever we do will enhance the efforts that the police have already made on the island. I will meet with the proprietor of the establishment, meet with BTB and also meet with the San Pedro chapter of the BTIA and I believe that between the four of us we should be able to come up with some amicable solution to resolve the issue.”

Channel 5


Re: San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? [Re: Marty] #540070
01/15/20 05:28 AM
01/15/20 05:28 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,329
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Chester’s Six Figure Hotel Bill

Since June of last year when a tourist was murdered on San Pedro, police have dramatically increased their presence on the island.

But the additional cops had no place to stay and they had to be put up at Pedro's Inn for more than 6 months.

But, police have now gotten the bill for that and we are told it's one hundred thousand dollars.

We asked the commissioner about it yesterday - and he seemed reluctant to discuss:

Jules Vasquez
"We have heard that your officers have been staying at a hotel in San Pedro doing their lawful business, their lawful duties, but that the police department has a six figure arrears at said accommodations, at the accommodations. Is this something that you're aware of?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"(Sighs) Let me see how to answer this one. Yes, police officers have been staying at a hotel in San Pedro. Due to the unavailability of accommodations. I had been asking questions several times last year as to who is footing the bill because, ahm, I have not seen any request for payment. Certain things were said to me as it relates to who is paying the bill. And, sudden one, I saw something came in with an arrears as you said, a six figure arrears. It is something that we will have to discuss with the proprietor of the establishment to see what can be worked out, and who is going to pay the bill. I can say for sure that the police department is not going to pay the bill in its entirety, it has to be a shared responsibility."

Jules Vasquez
"With the community? With who?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We'll decide that when the time comes. In the time being I have directed that the officers vacate that hotel immediately, and we're trying to see how we can find alternative accommodations for them."

"At the end of the day we do understand the nature of San Pedro and the fragility of the tourism industry, and so I cannot say that I am going to withdraw the officers from there, but, rather to say that we'll seek alternative accommodations. And, as much as the people of San Pedro need to be safe to be able to further their tourism business, then we have to work together like you said shared responsibility in order to ensure that we have adequate number of officers on island to make it safe."

"So we will see going froward, I will have to meet with the proprietor of the establishment; I will meet with the BTB; and I am going to meet with the San Pedro chapter of BTIA. And I believe that between the four of us we should be able to come up with some amicable solution to resolve the issue."

We have confirmed that police have since moved out of the building while the local chapter of the BTIA has said it is broke and cannot help to pay.

Channel 7


Re: San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? [Re: Marty] #540118
01/18/20 05:11 AM
01/18/20 05:11 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,329
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

COMPOL Says Cops Will Leave Pedro’s Inn, Eventually

On Tuesday night, we told you that the police had racked up a 6 figure bill at Pedro's Inn in San Pedro. That's because the cops had added deployments of officers staying at the hotel since the middle of last year, when crime spiked to a dangerous high on the island. Since the, the added police presence has brought down the crime - but at a cost.

And, the question tonight is, who will pay the hundred thousand dollar tab? Word to us is that despite the Commissioner's claims to the contrary, the police officers are still saying at Pedro's Inn and the bill continues to climb. Today when the press asked the commissioner about it, he says he expects to order to be complied with and the cops will be moving:

Chester Williams, Commissioner Of Police
"I have no need to lie, I am not going to go into a back and forth with Mr Lawrence, he is a businessman, the police stayed at his place a bill has been racked up and it needs to be paid, bottom line. I'm not saying that he's not going to be paid. It has to be paid in terms of whether the officers vacate I said on Monday I have given instructions for our officers to vacate immediately and that instruction was given to Mr Noble. So if it is that Mr Noble has not complied with my instructions then that's another story that he and I will have that discussion over. I do not expect that our officers are still staying at that hotel or any hotel per se. I have said to Mr Noble that we need to find an alternative accommodation that is not going to have those substantial costs upon the people of Belize."

As we told you on Tuesday, the commissioner believes the responsibility for the 6 figure tab falls somewhere between the Police Department, the BTB and the San Pedro chapter of the BTIA.

On Tuesday we reported that the local chapter of the BTIA was broke and could not pay its part. But, we have since been told that's not right. Here is the official position:

Chairwoman for the San Pedro Belize Tourism Industry Association Tamara Sniffin stated, quote, "We've have always maintained that we would do what we can (within our means) to assist our local police force, but until we can meet with ComPol we can not comment on his suggestion that the organization assist with the outstanding hotel bill." Sniffin reported that the local BTIA chapter did provide support to the police for several days in July last year with meals, transportation, and some accommodations when the additional officers first arrived on the island, but they never agreed to provide financial support.

Channel 7


Re: San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? [Re: Marty] #540131
01/18/20 08:12 AM
01/18/20 08:12 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,188
San Pedro AC Belize
Diane Campbell Offline
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Diane Campbell  Offline
I propose that 10% from each trades license on the island be put towards this bill. AND $$$$ from the BTB - the hotel tax is paid for by our guests - it seems reasonable that a portion - again perhaps 10% be put back into policing the community that generates the tax? $100,000 is a lot of money but with the amount being collected in the two venues noted above, it's an easy bill to pay.

Re: San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? [Re: Marty] #540178
01/22/20 06:16 AM
01/22/20 06:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,329
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Pedro’s Inn Owner Says Cops Owe 100k Plus!

Last week, we reported twice on the situation with Pedro's Inn on San Pedro. That's the hotel where police reinforcements have been staying since June of last year after a tourist was murdered on the island. But, Commissioner Chester Williams balked at paying the 6 figure hotel bill when he saw it earlier this month. He stated categorically that he won't pay one hundred thousand dollars - and suggested that the BTB and the BTIA will have to help cover the costs.

And while he has said this to the press, he still has not spoken to the owner of Pedro's Inn, Peter Lawrence. In June of last year, Lawrence agreed to open up 11 rooms for 22 police officers - and, tonight, 6 of them are still there.

In that time, he hasn't been paid, but he says he has been sending his bills to the Island's police formation monthly. Now, Lawrence isn't pushing the panic button and is certainly not pushing the police out of the rooms. He has an excellent working relationship with island cops - but says headquarters in Belmopan has disappointed him. He told us more this afternoon when he came to Belize City.

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Remember I did not take this to the public or the media, because we were always told well next week and Christopher Noble was asking. I don't know who he asked, but I could have a very good guess, because there aren't too many people above him and he isn't going to ask somebody below him. Obviously, the bills were known and so critical, not really."

Reporter
"Is that something the Commissioner could have realistically said, based on your knowledge of the facts that he was surprised to learn that he had 6 figure arrears with Pedro's Inn?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"What I could say I'm surprised that both the BTIA, BTB, Town Board and the police all knew that over 22 officers were on the island and they knew they were staying at Pedro's."

Reporter
"Was it at any point your understanding that it was a shared responsibility as the commissioner has alluded to between the police, BTB and BTIA?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"I knew that I was told, because it comes down to hearsay what people say and say do I know for a fact that the BTIA said they didn't say to me, they said yes they were going to help the police. That was in the paper. What does help the police means to keep the police on the island? I don't know what it means. All I know is that the police, but nobody - if ever knows the police on the island, certainly somebody has to figure out we're going to get paid."

Reporter
"When we spoke to the commissioner last week twice, he said that he gave the directive and he expects it to be followed, that the officers will be moving from your spot Pedro's Inn. What is the current situation? What is your understanding?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Well the commissioner did not talk to me, has not talk to me about this situation at all, so Christopher Noble said look I got to move the people, the place that I got to move them to is inhabitable in DFC. He said you got to do me a favor, we'll work out something over the long run, but I need 3 rooms for 6 officers from Thursday. So I said sure. I mean what do you do when somebody comes and say. This is nothing to do with the commissioner now, it's a favor from me to Chris Noble. Maybe somebody will help in the town, maybe they won't."

Reporter
"And so at this point are you a little bit frustrated?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Not frustrated, disappointed. Yes of course everybody wants to get paid, but the island has prospered and Belize in general has prospered at very insignificant amount of money."

Reporter
"Do you expect you will get paid?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Oh yeah."

Reporter
"How much is the bill?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Am, don't know, honestly I don't know, I'm going to guess, up to last Thursday about $117,000."

Lawrence estimates the total bill is $132,000 dollars minus $15,000 for trade and property taxes written off by the Town Council as its contribution.

And Lawrence says he's not being exacting with the police - he says he's had a long history of generosity with the Department and the Ministry:

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Last year we gave $19,000 worth of rooms, It's approximate because we don't keep records, but all the people who stayed, the hotel on the beach is $150 a night and sometimes they'll get the deluxe rooms which is $300 a night."

Reporter
"It's not always for security business, maybe personal business?"

Peter Lawrence, Owner, Pedro's Inn
"Maybe, I don't ask."

Tonight, 6 officers remain in 3 rooms at Pedro's Inn tonight.

Channel 7


Re: San Pedro Police Run Up 6 Figure Hotel Bill, Who Will Pay? [Re: Marty] #540197
01/23/20 05:52 AM
01/23/20 05:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,329
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

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.

LOVEFM


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."

Reporter
"Isn't that a different tone from what you took last Monday though. Correct me if I'm wrong."

Chester Williams
"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?"

Reporter
"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."

Chester Williams
"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."

Reporter
"Has that meeting with those stakeholders happened?"

Chester Williams
"No, I am hopig to go to San Pedro next week and then we have that meeting."

Reporter
"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?"

Chester Williams
"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."

Reporter
"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.

Channel 7



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