COMPOL Will Hold Commanding Officers Accountable for Illegal Social Gatherings


By Jem Smith
It has now been close to two weeks since Superintendent Henry Jemmott was killed in what has been called an accidental shooting. The incident took place on San Pedro but to be laid to rest Jemmott’s body was taken to southern Belize in Dangriga. His family and loved ones gathered to pay their last respects, but many of those gathered seemed to ignore all existing social distancing protocols. It was an event where, according to Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Chester Williams, the police “failed to enforce” COVID regulations. Alarmingly, this is despite the presence of multiple officers.
The Belize Police Department’s new Public Relations Officer, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, commented on the large gathering of the wake, saying that a decision to end the wake was made by the Jemmott family in accordance with what the Dangriga OC had commanded. This took place just before the curfew hour. Furthermore, videos of the wake were being live-streamed on social media and COMPOL Williams shared his view of the crowd. He said that while he was not in the country he would direct officers to ensure that the situation was properly handled. His concerns did not only surround the Jemmotts’ wake gathering.
Williams sent a warning to commanding officers as over the past weekend there were a number of social gatherings that were in breach of Covid-19 protocols. In a Facebook post, Williams stated that the department had to do its part to reduce and maintain numbers at an acceptable rate. He noted, “it cannot be that we will have a nonchalant attitude to what is happening.”
Williams stated that commanders are to be held personally responsible if gatherings take place and they are in breach of Covid-19 regulations.