Quick post on yesterday’s ‘town hall meeting’ at the Brew Barge: U.S. Embassy staff held a brief meet & greet and provided some consular services here on the peninsula. Discussions included:
So basically they reiterated the narrative we’ve been hearing on disaster preparedness: prepare yourself because the GOB is not prepared to respond to large scale or wide spread disaster and the US embassy won’t really have any additional resources either. If you have the opportunity to evacuate on a commercial flight before a predicted major hurricane- do it. If you plan to stay, plan on sorting yourself out with adequate supplies. Have a minimum of 1 month (but ideally 3 months) supply on hand of any life-saving medication you or your family require. If you haven’t already registered, sign up in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you receive important alerts and the embassy knows your location abroad.
Though the U.S. Embassy can not receive mail on your behalf, they can (and do) collect and consolidate your absentee ballots to expedite delivery to the States. Register and request a mail-in ballot online here and if you wish; connect with Bill Taylor of Maya Beach to turn it in. Bill is a community volunteer liaison for the U.S. Embassy and will collect ballots to deliver to the diplomat’s office and be forwarded to the US Postal Service. Watch for his posts on Facebook in pages like Placencia Expats or Placencia News & Happenings or message him via WhatsApp (+501 602 7768) or email (BillTaylor.email@example.com)
Crime and Safety Report
We heard from Placencia’s own Inspector Ical with a report on major crimes on the peninsula. There’s been a re-structuring of the police force since March to alleviate strain on limited resources- Placencia Police’s range of responsibility is from Laru Beya south to the Placencia Pointe and Siene Bight Police are responsible for Itz’ana Resort north to Riversdale. Very little major crimes have been committed in 2022 and only one murder in SB this year but they have the suspect in custody. Inspector Ical attributes the drop in incidents to a successful stop-and-search program the police have implemented. I was happy to hear that a new initiative within the department is community outreach. The officers are making real effort to get to know each and every resident of their communities and build relationships with them. I swear this is a novel idea because for the first 2 or 3 years I lived here I could walk past that station every dang day and greet the officers milling around outside and never get a ‘good morning’ in return. Haha! Seriously, I thought “my god these are the unfriendliest M Fers I’ve ever encountered.” But we have loads of fresh new faces in the department, an influx of female officers, and leadership is taking a community policing path… and the statistics are supporting what we’re all feeling. Placencia is a safe, welcoming place to visit or live. Inspector Ical even gave out his direct phone number: 615-1249 but another # to keep on hand is the Placencia Police Station: 503-3142
Services on Offer
The Embassy staff was available to answer questions and was providing passport renewal and notary services. We had a travel letter for Mitch notarized for $100bz.
Future townhalls like this one will be scheduled in Dangriga, Belize City and San Pedro so keep an eye open on Facebook for additional dates.
I had a chuckle about this because it was another ‘that’s so Belize’ moment. While Inspector Ical was giving his report of the Police Department a lady in the audience shared her experience with us. She said police had pounded at her door very early one morning demanding entry and then proceeded to rudely question her and her husband about drugs on the premise… it turns out they were acting on a trusted tip but had the wrong house so they scared the bejeesus out of this old lady by mistake. Inspector Ical apologized and said he’d also been an officer in the exact same situation in Belize City- storming the wrong residence. It happens, probably happens a lot. What do you expect when there’s no really address system in place?