Last week the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) blamed both political parties for the wave of crime that has overtaken the nation. Furthermore, the BCCI urged both parties to set aside their political differences and unite in order to address the problem. The Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno said that the PUP has offered to help, but it has not been welcomed.
John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “We need to point out also to the chamber that the issue of crime is not just the politicians alone but it also includes the private sector. What are they doing? Are they helping us in the south side? Are they trying to see how we can improve the lives of the people on South Side? It is something that affects every single one of us, not only the politicians or the business people but the churches and social partners all of us. I have been saying it over and over and over, extending our hand to the government that we are prepared to work with them on Guatemala and on the issue of crime. Every time we reach out our hands they slap it down.”
Briceno explained that the crime problem is rooted in economics.
John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “Yes there are people who are inherently bad but the biggest problem we have on the south side is an issue of economics. The poverty that we have in that area, that a lot of these school children don’t go to school or they don’t even have a plate of food and we don’t address these issues it is going to get worse. And I am happy that the chamber finally realized that this is important because for many times a lot of people were saying ‘oh that is a south side problem.’ it’s not a south side problem it is all of our problem.”
The Opposition leader added that his party is willing to work with the government or the private sector in an effort to find a solution to crime.