San Pedro Authorities Consider Requests from Residents over Safety Issues near Central Park Area

One of the issues that residents of San Pedro have raised is that the Jaguar Night Spot, which is located right across from the child-friendly Central Park, has of late created concerns among them because of the people who frequent the establishment. Residents feel that the business poses a security threat, especially to children who visit the park for recreational activities. Indeed, on the night of Bowens' killing, as Commissioner Williams alluded to earlier, the shooters approached from the area of the park and their target was someone who was standing in front of the night club. Father Eduardo Montemayor, the pastor in charge of the San Pedro Catholic Church is one of several residents who actively began lobbying for a safer downtown area in the wake of the tragic shooting. Responding to the calls for a restoration of public safety was Commissioner Williams and Belize Rural South Area Representative Andre Perez.

Father Eduardo Montemayor

"I've met with the different civic authorities and different groups and we're demanding, and I think they've responded positively, that we're going to establish a permanent police presence here in Central Park. Central Park is like one of the few sort of family-friendly areas that we have in San Pedro. It's where the children are playing, families - the tourists are here - civic activities."

Andre Perez, Area Representative, Belize Rural South

"We have been in discussion, and continue to do so - not because of this incident, but even the Commander Cowo can confirm to you that we have been in discussion over this issue, that we're aware of this specific establishment. We have even discussed that with the Council and including the deputy mayor had suggested that we set up a police booth or a police presence permanently at the park. So we had been on the works with that, and sadly, this incident occurred. So what this does is that we are looking at this establishment. I cannot speak ahead and say what is going to be done, I cannot speak on my own. In my opinion, yes, we have to deal with it. There is of course, the liquor license, the trade license, the council, the police department, the fire department, the health department -all of these departments that need to make a - state whether this building is able to do that. Let's not forget also that the Central Park is a child-friendly park. So all of these factors have to be taken into consideration and to be fair with the persons there who are investing."

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

"Knowing that any person of interest or associates of persons of interest are running night clubs in particular, it will be of concern to us. Another feature in San Pedro is that we'll now establish a permanent police presence at the Central Park. So the mayor should provide a booth for the park either this week or early next week, but in the absence of the booth, we already have the police officers working there. B.T.B is donating two booths for San Pedro. We're going to put one north and one south of Ambergris Caye. That will help to minimize the police response time because if something were to happen nine miles north of Ambergris Caye, it would take the police a minimum of ten minutes to get there. Ten minutes is a lot of time. So we need to do something that is going to minimize that to at least five. Worldwide, the police response time should be maximum five minutes and we want to make it that way."

Channel 5