What happens beyond the initial 30 days legislated under the Statutory Instrument signed by the Governor General that put into force a State of Emergency is still anyone’s guess. And though the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) believes the police department is doing its best to try something new, though draconian in nature, a long-term solution is still needed.
John Burgos Executive Director BTIA: “I come from Orange Walk. I see the increase in crime in Orange walk. I mean I see some of the small little dirt truck peddlers, I see how their livelihood is improving; that only means that they are doing bigger drug trafficking so where is the Police in the matter? Where is the Ministry of Defense in this matter, they are the ones that should be looking around. I mean Belize is still small and I think our size should be very manageable. There is certain limitations within the Police departments that they are not to contributing to and the decreasing of the crime in Belize you know but they are not the only ones you know. There are other factors in there that they play a big role. There are draconian measures being implemented right now; a lot of people say they are taking a lot of people rights. In a way you have to kind of look at it from the Police Point of view. The Deputy Commissioner of police has been mediating communication, using diplomatic means to try to get to a reasonable understanding with the affiliates of gangs in Belize city and understand that you are only hurting your own people. Your relatives, your family you know its a never ending family cycle; why do you keep living that cycle and you know I can see his frustration because he has been doing that for a couple of years now and now he is reaching a point where it seems that those gang affiliates are living on the edge now and they are very comfortable in that. Living on the edge meaning that they know their life can be taken away and they can be put in a situation where they take away someone’s life and they are very easily drawn to making the decision. It is a good thing only time will tell if it’s really going to do anything to reduce crime. I think for the short term it may yield some positive results but for the long term I don’t think it’s going to work for the long term. For the long term we have to look at it from a more holistic and from various vantage points that we can improve this societal structure.”
The BTIA is aware of the alert issued by the US Embassy for its citizens in Belize to avoid the two areas in Belize City.