AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
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|San Pedro Daily||Tuesday
April 22, 2014
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San Pedro Police statistics
increase in Crime
The San Pedro Police Department has released the crime statistics for the month of March 2014. The report demonstrates a slight increase in major crimes, especially burglaries and theft. In addition, police report that the possession of controlled drugs is increasing with severity on the island.
While crime is on the rise in San Pedro Town, police have reported a 50% decrease in crime for Caye Caulker Village. For the month of March 2014, Caye Caulker police only reported one incident of burglary, one incident of theft, one incident involving wounding, one incident of attempted murder, one incident involving harm and two incidents of damage to property. No major crimes were reported for the month of March in Caye Caulker.
On the other hand, San Pedro police reported that Ambergris Caye saw an overall increase in crime, with the concentration of crime being in the Town Core, Boca del Rio and San Pedrito areas. Other crimes including harm, assault and wounding also went up by 23% from February to March 2014. But major crimes did see a slight decrease of 4% from February to March 2014. Major crimes reported on the island included: one murder, one rape, four robberies, 10 burglaries, 14 thefts and one incident of unlawful carnal knowledge.
Officer in Charge of Police Luis Castellanos accounts the increase in crime for March to the high number of shootings and drug peddling in the island. Over 1097.3 grams of cannabis and 1215.4 grams of cocaine were confiscated in San Pedro during March leading to 24 arrests for possession of drugs. The surge of crime during March saw a group of law enforcement agents coming to the island on March 20, 2014 to tackle the issue.
Castellanos stated to The San Pedro Sun that he will be working on lowering the crime levels. ”The police and the community need to have a better relationship, especially with more effective communication, sharing of information and better networking. This will help the police immensely in fighting crime and reducing the levels of crime for the island,” said Castellanos. Through the course of April, Castellanos will be implementing more community policing projects to reduce crime rates in Ambergris Caye.
Residents are encouraged to report criminal activity immediately at phone number 206-2022 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-8477.
Drug rehab centers
upgrade quality of service
Drug rehabilitation centers in Belize are increasing the quality of service provided to their clients through a new system developed by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission.
The Reporter spoke today with Ismael Vallejos, Director of Jacobs Farm Rehabilitation Center, who explained that he was among two Belizean delegates who participated in a regional training seminar in Nassau, Bahamas last week. The seminar, funded by the Organization of America States, was to train rehab representatives in employing a new client data entry system which will not only ensure more relevant and comprehensive data to authorities and stakeholders, but also greater confidentiality to clients. “The seminar also provided a forum for drug rehab representatives to network and share ideas, which will benefit the quality of the service we are able to provide.”
The National Drug Abuse Control Council also sent a representative to the seminar. Director of the NDACC, Esner Vellos, explained that later this year both delegates will meet with representatives from other rehab centers in the country to sensitize them about the new system.
Vellos explained that the implementation of the intake is for a positive step in developing the minimal standards of care that will be required of all drug rehab facilities in Belize. “We will be working to make Jacob’s farm the model rehab center in Belize and implement the minimal standards of care there. Once that is done we will look to licensing and accreditation,” Vellos said.
Currently Belize has three rehab centers: the Ashcroft Rehabilitation Center located at the Kolbe Foundation, Jacobs Farm in Corozal and Remars, which has branches in Belize City, Ladyville and Bullet Tree.
Central American Criminal
and Terrorism Nexuses
As Central America's northern cone nations set records for willful deaths, Honduras leads the world with a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000. El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize’s homicide rates are averaging, collectively, 42 percent per 100,000, as people literally fight for their lives.
These seemingly unabated rates of murder, plus the kidnappings and assassinations of public figures, police, members of the armed forces and journalists, are the continuing and expanding product -- and chosen role -- of transnational organized criminals (TOC). And much of their achieved movement would not have been possible without facilitation and nurturing by rogue leftist political regimes, and paramilitary and guerilla-like forces, within this hemisphere.
Each of the countries in the northern cone of Central America, as well as Mexico and the United States, have shared borders within the regions of hostile operational activities that witness fluid and seemingly unstoppable encroachment by the criminal insurgent-like actors. These TOCs, for the most part, use advanced military-type weaponry, superior firepower and more advantageous military tactics, including seen before elements of intelligence tradecraft employed by world terrorist organizations.
Mexico's military has forced many gangs south into Guatemala and El Salvador. Quick to follow were the Zetas, albeit the Zeta movement south has been described as a proactive movement and not a reactive strategy of retreat. Their reach into Central America has corrupted police, while they have recruited talent and trained recruits in Guatemalan camps. Movements into Honduras graphically mark the Zeta's area of influence as a clear indicator of turf superiority, as they have expanded their territorial range from the Gulf of Mexico coastal states to Central America.
The transnational influence and power of the Zetas paved the way for an upswing in the long distance shipping of cocaine from South America, much of this through the risky Central America drug pipeline into lucrative North American markets. Other violent criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, have matured into lucrative markets of incredible revenue. These awesome endeavors required a power that had to prevail against all obstacles designed to interdict.
In El Salvador alone, the strong and violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang became a fertile recruiting ground for the Zetas. Law enforcement and government concerns and fears that powerful Zeta alliances would lead to jail breaks, to free previously captured gang members, became realities.
This insurgent-like equation became the new organized crime-terror nexus. Fear, intimidation, political tampering, kidnappings, murders, bombings, and torture became the norm. The organizational similarities of organized crime and terror merged to essentially form a single merchant of violence and death, available to the highest or most powerful bidder or survivor. Groups emerged as third generation gangs possessing extensive, asymmetrical warfare capabilities.
The critical question that must be asked, again -- and much more vociferously: where are all of these affected nation’s priorities, strategies and proactive solutions to protect against TOCs using asymmetric tactics against the States and further threatening their nations' security and economy?
Many ask, “Just how real and serious is this?” As far back as 2009, the previous director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, stated: ‘‘Escalating violence along the U.S.-Mexico border will pose the second greatest threat to U.S. security this year, second only to al Qaeda. ”
In framing the discussion of the realities of the nexus of many heavily armed nefarious groups and organizations within the hemisphere, and their desired and actual agendas, we must look at the issues of not only corruption but too covert support and facilitation by other powerful entities above “soldier” levels in Last February 14 security consultant Douglas Farah gave testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade regarding, “Terrorist Groups in Latin America: The Changing Landscape.”
Farah stated that hybrid groups like Colombia's FARC, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and many others “thrive in the seams of the world’s illicit trade pipelines.”
He described FARC as a prototype of the coming hybrid terrorist-criminal insurgency, which “remains at the center of a multitude of criminal enterprises and terrorist activities that stretch from Colombia south to Argentina, and northward to Central America and into direct ties to Mexican drug cartels.”
According to Farah, the U.S. DEA has shown direct and growing criminal drug ties between the FARC and Hezbollah. Too, his testimony revealed that “FARC is a central part of the revolutionary project of bringing together armed groups and terrorist organizations under the umbrella of the (Venezuelan) Bolivarian Revolution.”
He cited known and reported links to the late Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, and current president-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador, as “Giving significant logistical, financial, and political support to the FARC, allowing FARC to expand its international networks and increase its resources.”
Documents and computers, including hundreds of gigabytes of data retrieved from computers during a Colombian raid into Ecuador against FARC in 2008, revealed what was described as graphic evidence of these rogue political associations and relationships.
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