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Regional Police Associations Battle Over Local Police Politics

Regional Police Associations Battle Over Local Police Politics
May 31
10:15 2019

Friday, May 31st. 2019 –
The ACCP release says: “The ACCP wishes to advise that this body [the CFPWA] has no jurisdiction over such matters and further that the matter being sub justice, it would be improper for this body to comment or to intervene.” On Wednesday Williams told the media that the ACCP is of the view that the CFPWA shouldn’t have issued the release it did and called it “totally out of order” because Belize is not a member of that federation.

Williams said the ACCP tried to respond in a non-confrontational manner and tried to be the “bigger person” with a more subtle response. The case involving Williams and Police Association Chairman, Cpl. Eldon Arzu is still before Justice Shona Griffith and will return to court in July.

Some critics, however, in speaking with the Reporter said it is clear that the ComPol is reluctant to allow the Police Department to join the CFWPA like it has joined the ACCP. “What is he afraid of? If he is truly for welfare then that would be the honorable thing to do rather than to try to manipulate the association,” one source said of Williams’ reaction to the matter.

Arzu, meanwhile, has been mostly quiet awaiting his day in court as he has mounted a challenge to the ComPol’s Statutory Instrument passed earlier this year, which in effect made Arzu ineligible to maintain the chairmanship. Arzu was elected once again in January and has served as chairman of the Police Association for five consecutive terms. Arzu secured another election following the passing of the SI prompting a meeting between the Commissioner and members of the association’s executive regarding Arzu’s disqualification from the process.

Arzu maintains that his eligibility for chairmanship should not be applied retroactively, effectively enabling him to serve at least two terms as per the terms of the new SI. Williams doesn’t agree with that interpretation and has essentially told Arzu, via previous public comments, to fall in line. Some of Arzu’s supporters have even claimed feeling pressure and intimidation from within the ranks.

In its statement, the CFPWA condemned Williams’ approach as “dictatorial” and the situation an “atrocity”. The federation called Williams’ decision a personal attack on Arzu and called on the government to “respond to this situation which is an abuse of power and an attack on a police officer who has committed to serving his country.

Williams balked at the idea that he or the Belize Police Department could be scolded or reprimanded by the federation, of which he emphasized that Belize is not even a part. “What they say has absolutely no bearing on what our police administration does. We have our own set of laws and standing orders that we are governed by, regardless of how inadequate they may feel our laws are,” Williams said via his Facebook page at the time.

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