40 alleged gang members are incarcerated at the Belize Central Prison as a result of the declared State of Emergency in South Side Belize City. The men are expected to be locked down for a period of no more than 30 days. Over 60 men who were in lockdown for the past 7 days were released after no charges were brought against them. We have heard from top brass police officers, attorneys, human rights activists, and the common man on the issue so far. Today, the media got a chance to hear from the acting Prime Minister on the matter of the State of Emergency. He told us what led to this measure being taken.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: It was not done without consultation from the people. We have heard the outcries of the citizenry especially here in Belize City where you know I’m a Belize City representative; and there have been many many suggestions in line of that. In fact, you know that sometime ago there were measures that Prime Minister Barrow tried to put in having to do with preventative detention, and we heard people loud and clear. It was a different climate, it was a different time, I think that the rate of murders have since gone up tremendously, and there were many people who said that we need that kind of measure, although it’s not the same thing. To tell you the facts, the truth is that the measures have been put in place to declare zones in an emergency state. While I was acting Prime Minister, you would of remembered in March when we had another terrible spate of murders that that decision was announced. All that happened was our government was full of restraints, and in fact did not move to declare the particular zones. After a little while when things calmed down we thought that we just hold off until things flared up, and we saw the absolute need to do it. Last weekend was in fact that opportunity where we thought that it was absolutely necessary.