Thursday, October 24, 2019

Another plane, this one an executive jet in pristine condition, was discovered in Blue Creek days ago, abandoned. As is always the case, Police were late on the scene. Nobody was found in the area, and there was no sign of any cargo. Because of the size of the plane, and the fact that it was just discarded, Belizeans can only speculate about the value of the cargo, and despite what must have been a large, coordinated operation to land and unload the plane, all was done and over with before local law enforcement even got close.

This week Mexican authorities revealed that they are placing elements of the Mexican National Guard at key locations along the border, where it is believed these drugs make their way from Belize into Mexico before moving to points further north. It is clear that the Mexicans have no confidence in the ability or will of Belizean authorities to make even a dent in the flow of narcotics into their country. And that’s certainly no surprise.

This week, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams proudly boasted that there were 12 drug planes which landed last year, as opposed to only 7 so far this year. What Williams is not saying is that the planes that are found landed, mostly damaged, burned and destroyed, are the planes which did not land and take off. There are credible reports suggesting that for every plane which is ‘found’ by Belizean Police, there are ten which land and take off successfully, undetected.

Even more ludicrous was a release from the Ministry of National Security which gave the same old sorry excuse – that in the year 2019, after allegedly millions spent on radar, “Belize does not yet have military radar tracking capability. In the time being Belize relies on an external regional network that generates tracking information as soon as suspect planes leave South America.”

According to the release, once they receive information of these planes leaving South America, law enforcement teams are then deployed to as many known landing sites in the country as possible. It is unbelievable that in this day and age, our Ministry of National Security must resort to guessing where a plane will land. And it is certainly no wonder, then, that so many planes are able to land undetected, until they are ‘discovered’ hours after.

Belizeans have no doubt that there is collusion at very high levels of the Police Department, and even the Government, when it comes to the movement of drugs through Belize. The modus operandi is this – the remains of planes are found, there are no persons or cargo, and the Police hold a conference to say that they are processing the scene in an attempt to determine whether the said airplane carried any illicit cargo. And that is the last that anybody ever hears about it. There is never any follow-up on whether the alleged ‘processing’ turned up any evidence that Police can use. And all is quiet until the next plane, empty, is discovered.

Months ago, an SUV was discovered on the George Price Highway after a plane landed off the Coastal Road. The SUV was chock full of cocaine. To this day, months after, Police have said nothing about who owns the SUV, though tracking the owner through Transport records would have been the work of minutes. There were many queries in the weeks following the discovery, but no information was ever released.

What is happening in Belize is clearly a well-greased network facilitating narco-trafficking, which goes all the way to the top. Until the heads of the local snakes in Government and in the Police are cut off, planes will continue to land as they wish, Police will continue to come up empty-handed, and narcotics will continue to flow.