Seven murders in ten days made the news last week. It’s enough to strike fear in any community, but the beleaguered Belize City Southside has seen more than its fair share.
Earlier last week, we told you about the Police’s establishment of a semi-permanent command post in the Jane Usher Boulevard area, nexus of the last three murders in the City.
On Friday, the Prime Minister announced a purchase of more weapons for Police. But in addition to those, there is dialogue. The Prime Minister tells us more.
“There is a meeting taking place this afternoon between some of the principals from the Jane Usher Boulevard area and from other areas, so that the carrot and stick approach or the effort to go at this thing from several different directions might be employed as a way of dealing with the situation. So, even as the police are stepping up their enforcement actions in the area, an effort is being made to talk through the situation with the gang leaders (with the principals) to see if some kind of cease fire, if you will, might be mediated”.
According to the Prime Minister, the efforts are more concentrated than the City-wide truce of September 2011 which reduced crime briefly.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow: “I wouldn’t call these efforts “a truce” because when we were talking about that last time, it was the entire city. This is confined to the particular protagonists in what we recognize as this particular ‘beef’. So, in that sense, I would not call it a truce, but it is an effort to get the two pr three sets involved in this conflict to agree to, if not, call of the war, at least, cool things down. The ultimate objective is to try to get them to stop completely, but the effort, hopefully will result in some immediate and dramatic improvement”.
And the recent naming of Belize as the third most homicidal country in the world and Belize City as among the worst cities for crime worldwide did not faze the Prime Minister, who notes that that was then – and this is now.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow: “2012, wasn’t it? It is history!
Reporter: “Bit it still remains that way and it is going back on that and it’s still running down there Sir.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow: “Which crime was down?”
Reporter: “That crime was down”.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow: “But crime was down last year, you can’t get the…just as how what was said with respect to 2012 was factual, what happened in 2013 is factual! Let’s see what happens in 2014; we agree that there has been this recent spike, but we are confident we can deal with it”.