|Minister of Defense – Minister of National Security and Immigration Honorable Carlos Perdomo inspects officers lined in formation in front of the station.|
|Accompanying Minister Perdomo on his official visit were (l-r) Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby, Assistant Commissioner Allen Whylie, Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department Superintendent Dennis Arnold and Superintendent of Police and Advisor to the Minister, Elodio Aragon.|
O n Friday, May 2nd, Minister of National Security and Immigration Honorable Carlos Perdomo visited the San Pedro Police Department as part of his countrywide familiarization tour. Arriving at the San Pedro Police Department Honorable Perdomo, along with Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby and Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department Superintendent Dennis Arnold, inspected the Guard of Honor and officers lined in formation in front of the station. Following the inspection, Minister Perdomo and several high ranking officers met in a closed door discussion aimed at acquainting him with the necessities and difficulties faced by the San Pedro detachment.
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Perdomo stated that his visit was not only to find out the challenges that the officers face but also to find solutions and ways to assist. In this endeavor, Honorable Perdomo was assisted by Area Representative of Belize Rural South and Minister of Tourism Honorable Manuel Heredia, Jr. One of the major problems included the lack of man power in the rapidly growing community. With a population of close to eighteen thousand residents, the San Pedro Police Department falls short with a total of 26 officers. Honorable Perdomo explained that his ministry is currently looking at the situation at hand and weighing the possibility of increasing the number of staff, especially considering that San Pedro is a prime tourist destination.
According to Sergeant Wade of the San Pedro Police Department other areas of discussion during the meeting were the need for: a permanent social worker on the island, morgue, twenty four hour medical service, upgrading of the barracks, and the dire need of transportation by the Caye Caulker detachment. Both Ministers agreed that they would work hand in hand to achieve as much as was needed. “The meeting was very informative,” commented Sergeant Wade, “they have promised to assist with four golf carts, two for San Pedro and two for Caye Caulker. They also stated that they would help in the construction of a morgue and as far as the barracks go, Minister Perdomo has asked us to submit estimates for the renovation of the quarters. According to Minister Heredia, a social worker should be arriving in San Pedro fairly soon to assist in the many cases.”
When asked about the frequent rise in number of Cuban refugees landing on shore in San Pedro, Perdomo told The San Pedro Sun that there is an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Cuba so whenever caught; refugees must be repatriated. However, in the event that the refugees are shipwrecked, Honorable Perdomo commented that they will offer the necessary assistance that will allow the refugees to continue their voyage. In regards to the last group of Cubans that landed in San Pedro on April 25th, Minister Perdomo claimed that they were intercepted at sea, shipwrecked. They were brought on shore where they were given the necessary assistance and sent on their voyage.
Whether this procedure will have any repercussions on the relationship enjoyed by both Cuba and Belize, Minister Perdomo commented to The Sun that he doesn’t believe that it will have any effect, since the refugees were offered assistance because they were shipwrecked.
During his official visit, Minister Perdomo was accompanied by Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby, Assistant Commissioner Allen Whylie and Superintendent of Police and Advisor to the Minister, Elodio Aragon.