An American woman living in Belize has been arrested following the death of a senior police officer on Friday morning.
Jasmine Hartin, a well-known property developer and real estate agent, was arrested following the death of Superintendent Henry Jemmott in San Pedro, the main town on the island of Amergris Caye.
The town rose to prominence when Madonna sang about it in her 1987 hit La Isla Bonita.
Hartin is married to British developer Andrew Ashcroft, 43, whose billionaire father Lord Ashcroft is one of Britain’s most high-profile political donors. Lord Ashcroft has long ties to Belize, owning a home in the country and having Belizean citizenship as well as extensive business ties.
Jemmott, who joined the police in 2000, was found with a single gunshot wound to the right side of his head.
Jasmine Hartin has been arrested following the death of a senior police chief on an island off the coast of Belize. She is married to Andrew Ashcroft, a British-Belizean businessman. His father is billionaire businessman and leading Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft
Superintendent Henry Jemmott was found floating in the sea with a single gunshot wound to the head in the early hours of Friday morning. Jemmott and Hartin has been socializing together on the pier at the time, the police commissioner said. Jemmott was previously in charge of policing the region, but had been promoted to work in Belize City. He was back on the island to deal with ‘personal issues’, the commissioner said, without elaborating
Jemmott’s body is seen being brought to shore on Friday morning
Jemmott’s body is seen being retrieved from the sea on Friday morning. He died from a single wound to the head, fired from his own service weapon
The police chief’s body was found floating off the end of this pier in the early hours of Friday
Jemmott was a well-known figure in Belize, particularly in the San Pedro area which he commanded for several years. On Friday, as news of his death spread, shocked colleagues sent their condolences to his family
Jemmott was taking time off to deal with ‘personal issues’ when he died, the police commissioner said
Jemmott was a long-serving member of the Belize police force, having joined the force in 2000
Superintendent Jemmott was commander of precinct two in Belize City, the largest city in the Central American country. He had taken some time off to deal with ‘personal issues’ and returned to San Pedro – an area he previously worked in
Chester Williams, commissioner of police, told a press conference that Jemmott and Ashcroft were socializing on a pier when he was shot dead.
His body was retrieved from the waters right next to the pier.
Jemmott was commander of precinct two in Belize City, the largest city in the Central American country. Prior to that, from 2016-19, he commanded the Coastal Executive Unit – an area that included San Pedro.
Williams said that Jemmott was on the island on leave, to solve what he described as ‘some personal issues’.
Williams said: ‘I was not aware he was out on San Pedro until I got the call last night that he had died.
‘It’s a sad situation, and it is something that we as a department will have to find a way to deal with and will as best as we can.
‘The police have spoken to several persons living near the area of the incident and will use such information in their investigation.’
He said a post-mortem will help determine whether Jemmott pulled the trigger himself.
Hartin was not cooperating with police, The Belizean reported, until her lawyer arrives.
She has hired Godfrey Smith, the former Attorney General of Belize, to represent her, local media said.
Smith was seen on the island on Friday morning, in footage obtained by 7 Belize.
Smith is yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Godfrey Smith, the former Attorney General of Belize, is seen on Friday morning. He has flown in to the island to represent Hartin
Godfrey Smith, Hartin’s lawyer, is seen leaving the San Pedro policer station on Friday morning
Jasmine Hartin is pictured with her husband Andrew Ashcroft at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new resort on May 7
Hartin works as the Director of Lifestyle and Experience at the resort, which opened May 7
Jasmine Hartin’s husband Andrew Ashcroft, 43, has lived in Belize for over 20 years, he said. His father is Lord Ashcroft, a well-known British political donor and former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party
Lord Ashcroft (left) has business interests in Belize, and has spent time in the country since he was a young man. Pictured: Lord Ashcroft and Lord Steinberg in the Robing Room of the House of Lords
The incident occurred on a beach near Grand Caribe Resort, close to the Alaia Belize Resort owned by Hartin’s husband. Hartin worked as Director of Lifestyle and Experience at the resort, which opened in May.
Hartin worked for a real estate company before joining the team at Alaia
Made up of lavish beachfront condos, Alaia Belize opened earlier this month, in partnership with Marriott.
‘With deep family roots in Belize and calling it my home for over 20 years, I wanted to ensure that Alaia Belize captured the lively spirit, genuine hospitality and friendliness of the destination and locals,’ said Ashcroft.
‘My team and I worked closely with the Marriott International team to bring it all to fruition and allow our future guests and owners an opportunity to immerse themselves into the Belizean culture.’
Ashcroft is the youngest of Lord Ashcroft’s three children from his first marriage, and is a citizen of Belize.
He is a former director of the British Caribbean Bank and has been responsible for funding a number of high-profile real estate developments in Belize and the surrounding region.
Alaia Belize opened at the beginning of May – the first such resort for Marriott in the country
Andrew Ashcroft said that he wanted Alaia to ‘captured the lively spirit, genuine hospitality and friendliness of the destination and locals’
The hotel features 155 guest rooms and suites, and the resort also contains 71 studios, two- and three-bedroom condominiums and eight oceanfront villas. Owners who don’t reside full-time in Belize can opt to enroll their condominiums or villas into a rental program booked through Marriott International’s reservation system
Andrew Ashcroft, seen on May 7 at the Alaia launch, was a former director of the British Caribbean Bank
The Alaia website states: ‘Along with her husband, Andrew Ashcroft, Jasmine has played an integral role in shaping the vision for Alaia Belize from the very beginning.
‘Her passion for Belize and her appreciation for the local nature and culture have been guiding forces as she has collaborated with the entire development team on every aspect of the experience, from the master plan and amenity curation to interiors and social programming.’
Tributes have been paid to Superintendent Jemmott, who was well known in Belize.
The country’s coast guard, which works closely with the country’s police force was amongst the first to express its sorrow.
Acting Commandant Commander Gregory Soberanis wrote to Belize’s police chief, Chester Williams: ‘His service to his Department and country will not be forgotten. Today we mourn his loss, but honour is duty to service.
‘On behalf of the Belize Coast Guard our deepest sympathies as we stand together with the Police Department in this time of bereavement.’