CHESTERíS PLAN FOR SAN PEDRO

Over the weekend, we took you to San Pedro to tell you about the tragic murder of 23-year-old American nursing student J'Bria Bowens. She was shot to the throat when three gang-affiliated shooters zoned in on a target buying food from Jaguar's nightclub.

That shooting happening in what is effectively the town square is one that some residents told us entered the realm of the possible some months ago when gang affiliates started frequenting the Jaguar's Rehab Lounge.

But if the events of December 30th were just heat that finally boiled over, the Commissioner of Police is intent on cooling things all the way down. Here's what he told 7 News on Saturday about 4 ways in which things in San Pedro are going to change.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"There will be some new features to be added to the San Pedro police formation with a view to make sure that we protect the tourism industry more. Those features include one to establish, a permanent presence at Central Park. We believe that Central Park is one of the main attractions in San Pedro and one of the main areas where people would go and socialize with their families, families and so having a full-time presence there is going to be beneficial to our policing of the island. Two, I will speak to the business community to see I they will be willing to provide a booth for us North of San Pedro. We believe that the island has grown tremendously and to have just one central police location, it is not serving the islanders the best way we would want it to and so to de-centralize the policing in San Pedro we believe at this time is best to protect the tourist industry, and so if we get the booth north of Ambergris Caye we are going to establish a full-time presence there and a permanent checkpoint because what we have found out is that the gang members who are also the playadors who walk the beach and look for drugs and harass people then to operate more north Ambergris Caye as opposed to south. With the presence of the police there it is going to 1 ensure that we monitor the movements of these gang members and drug dealers, two ensure that we constantly put pressure on them because once they are seen moving between south and north Ambergris Caye, they will be stopped and searched by the police. Three, it will also help us to establish a strong operational presence on the other side of the island and four it is going to make those people, locals and tourists alike feel much safer knowing that the police e are now based on that side of the island."

"I can say now though that BTB has donated two UTV's to San Pedro Police. One of those UTV's will be used for north Ambergris Caye and these were already in the making, they were supposed to be handed to us on Frida next week but I have asked BTB to auxilarate the donation to Tuesday of next week so Tuesday next week we will get the donation. It welcome to San Pedro to be utilized in our new crime-fighting effort for San Pedro." And one cop set to traverse both sides of the island is Officer Commanding San Pedro Alejandro Cowo. He was notably seen responding to J'Bria Bowens' murder and ferrying her body to the polyclinic in the bed of a pickup truck. Those images and the utter fiasco of an American being murdered in San Pedro's Central Park made many feel that it might have been over for officer Cowo on Ambergris Caye.

We put that question to the Commissioner on Saturday but he shot it down immediately saying that while Cowo received a reprimand He's staying put. Some of his subordinates however were in for a serious re-shuffle right off the island. Here's more

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We are also looking at changing some of the officers in San Pedro because from what we have been told is that some of them are too cozy with these drug dealers or gang members, you either are a police officer or a gang member. You can't be two of them."

Cherisse Halsall:
"There was a new officer commanding San Pedro, this division, Eastern division, that was officer Cowo, will he now be recalled after this fiasco?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I don't think that mister Cowo has anything to do with it. He is a hard worker, he is committed he is dedicated but he needs to get more support from the local officers and that is the reason why we are going to remove some of those who are below him to make sure that we give him people who are going to work. I have not had any faults with Mr. Cowo, yes I have said certain things to him in meetings and you all know my style. I Have said to him what I need to say to him to ensure that the efficiency of the police in San Pedro improves. He has accepted what I have said to him and I am now going to provide him with more so I am the parent that is going to flag him when you have done wrong to correct you and when I done flag you, I will work with you to make sure that we make amends in moving forward so that has been done and I do not foresee Mr. Cowo being a part of the moves."

Cherisse Halsall:
"Will he be supported by officer Noble for any amount of time?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Mr Noble is one of the deputy officers in the Eastern division, by virtue of Mr Noble's office he does have jurisdiction over San Pedro and so Mr Noble will be tasked to make frequent checks to San Pedro perhaps every two weeks just to come and sit with Mr Cowo and see how things are going and if there is anything that we can do from headquarters or from Eastern division to enhance what is being done on the island then we do so but certainly, Mr Noble will have to have a more active role in terms of coming to San Pedro, and soaking. It's not to micro-manage Mr Cowo, MR. Cowo is the commander but the fact that Noble was here and has a vast knowledge of the island and how it was being policed, he can assist Mr Cowo."

Channel 7