The Ministry of National Security and the Steering Committee of the Placencia 2020 Initiative signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at ceremonies at the Eastern Division Police Station on Wednesday, October 31.
Placencia 2020 Initiative is made up of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (B.T.I.A.) and the villages of Placencia and Seine Bight, along businesses with other stakeholders in the area.
The MOU outlines a novel approach to fighting crime on the Placencia peninsula with a twenty-four hour mobile checkpoint, which will be managed by police and residents. At the MOU signing ceremony, Mr. Stewart Krohn, Chairman of Placencia B.T.I.A. explained that their checkpoint will be a kind of “mobile institutionalized checkpoint” that will be funded by the private sector.
Krohn explained that they will purchase a recreational vehicle, with which they will set up the checkpoint. He said that the vehicle will be an all weather type. “If people have to be detained, they will be detained and questioned within the confines of the vehicle that we will have.”
The checkpoint will be tourist friendly. Krohn said that they will be asking the Belize Tourism Board for training resources to train local police on how to use tourist friendly methods.
The Minister of National Security John Saldivar said that the fight against crime will take time.
“All I can ask is the patience of the Belizean people as we work together as one Belizean people to solve this greatest challenge,” He said.
He continued to those gathered at the ceremony, “There is now a renewed focus on the part of the Ministry of National Security and on the part of the Police Department to re-emphasize the participation of communities in the fight against crime.
“This memorandum that we will sign today, as I said, should serve as a model, but I also recognize that every community will have its own particular and peculiar conditions and the model may have to vary from community to community.”