The recent outbreak of violent crime and the subsequent state of emergency declared on a significant portion of Belize City has prompted the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to air its concerns regarding the social issues which also impacts everyday commerce and trade. The BCCI points to Belize earning a spot on the top-ten list of countries with the highest murder rates in the world.The Belize Crime Observatory reported that in 2016 and 2017 there were 138 and 142 homicides, respectively, or 36.4 and 39 per 100,000. BCCI President Nikita Usher told Love News this national problem occurred under both PUP and UDP administrations and the country needsall elected leaders to work together to address the socio-economic causes in a strategic bi-partisan way.
Nikita Usher, President, BCCI: “We’ve now had the arrest of a few members of society and we’re hearing the cries and screams but I think basically at the end of the day, the businesses are hurting and you’re actually arresting citizens in their own house. In terms of arresting from the standpoint that everybody is fearful of walking the streets and the business punish at the end of the day. Besides that we have citizens who are also affected in the way that they can’t walk freely, they can’t do what they used to do in our jewel that we call Belize. We feel it is an issue that has to be not political, it has to be both parties sitting down. It has to be all stakeholders including civil society sitting down at the table to see how best we can fix the situation and have the matter addressed as quickly as possible. It cannot be one where one side of government or one side of the house speaking to the other side and there is no resolution to the problem. It is something that has to be dealt with immediately and aggressively and if you notice what we have also said to the police in our release, we also gave some statistics so that you all can see that we are ranking tops in the world per capita of murders but the BCCI is also saying it is two sides of the government, two parties that are at fault for this and we now seriously need to have the matter arrested. We can’t continue to flow and this timing, perhaps although we said it might have been delayed, we also have the expo this weekend and we hope to have as best as possible a clean expo, free of crimes and murders.”
The Chamber is preparing for this weekend’s expo and hopes the environment continues to be safe. On Wednesday the Chamber issued a release condemning both parties for the Universal Health Services debacle. It said that the monstrous debt that the country is now faced with illustrates the carelessness and irresponsibility of our elected leaders who pledge allegiance to our country. BCCI pointed out that true leadership would address the issue as such avoiding it to balloon to such a proportion. The nation’s highest court has ruled that the debt is lawful, and it is Parliament’s responsibility to uphold the rule of law whether we are pleased with the decision or not.