The murder statistics is up to more than seventy since the start of the year. We have now entered the sixth month and the People’s United Party says that the crime problem in Belize is not being addressed properly. On Tuesday, Opposition Leader John Briceno says that crime has gotten worse, with criminal targeting innocent persons like women and children. The recent spate of robberies in downtown Belize City also caught the attention of Briceno who said that the Belize Police Department needs to be retrained, retooled and refocused.
John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “We have heard a lot of talk from the recently appointed Minister of Police about operation ACT and they have added more acronyms to the list of police units like the GSU, ADU, SPU, and the list goes on. So far none of this has made so much as a dent into the crime and violence. Enough with the acronyms. During the budget debate Police Minister John Saldivar said that he would be holding consultations with civil society, social partners and other stakeholders to look at a comprehensive plan to address the crime situation. He stated that he would call on the opposition as well- to date he has not invited any of us in the opposition to a single meeting. Neither has he reached out to anyone in our party to ask us to be a part of his efforts. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Minister of National Security and the leadership of the Belize Police Department has lost the confidence of our people when it comes to preventing, detecting and solving crime. We remain convinced however that this problem will not be solved with guns and more BDF on the streets. We cannot brutalize our youths into submission- this will not work. As I said in my last press briefing we need to revitalize the southside of Belize City to make it a zone of opportunity. Our communities will be safer if we police better, keep our children in school, improve relations between the police and the community and improve our conviction rates.”
Briceno says the PUP is ready and willing to work with all stakeholders to address the crime situation.