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A crime fighting strategy that involves all stakeholders

Over the past few weeks, major crimes in Belize City have increased to a shocking level, prompting the Government to immediately institute crime fighting strategies. But crime is a problem that the Government itself cannot effectively address and solve. The Ministry of National Security says it stands ready to work with all factions of the society to address this matter. In a release the Ministry says it will embark on a nationwide consultation with stakeholders to discuss, and share ideas and possible strategies to address the crime situation in Belize.During the budget debate today Senators brought up the matter of crime.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator: “Mr. President as our beloved Belizean people continue to suffer because of this curse of crime the question we ask is where in this budget do we have allocations for fighting and ending corruption thus impacting sustainable crime and poverty? It is so sad that this government has morphed from its original promise and mandate. The majority in government fail to make or even acknowledge the connect between government’s stated new focus that is poverty alleviation and its original unfulfilled promise of ending corruption with that machete.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator: “The recent change in leadership, the shuffling around of the same players at the high command of the police and at the level of the Ministry is not an answer and last night and the days of the last week show us that there is a lack of confidence in the police department, a lack of confidence in the political leadership in the Ministry of National Security. It calls for a national effort to arrest the crime wave that is besetting this country. But we once again have to take a serious look at what it is the government is proposing. Mr. President lets go to page 95 of the budget book. Page 95 ‘Community Police Services and Crime Prevention’ so now we are talking about the monies that are to be made available, the resources that are to be made available for crime prevention. ‘Revise estimates for 2017-2018 $48.3 million. What is being proposed for 2018-2019? $44.192 million,  a reduction of over $3 million. You see that? A reduction.”

Osmany Salas, Senator for NGO’s: “If our police do not change their tactics community policing efforts will be a dismal failure. Even if we add 500 new police officers to the department as indicated in page 95 of the budget I’ll come back to that figure later- there were 142 murders in our country last year which amounted a rate of approximately 40 per 100,000, that rate exceeded every country in Latin America and the Caribbean except for four, Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela. This first quarter alone and we still have a few days to go there have been if my information is correct there have been 40 murders, that is already close to 11 per 100,000 for three months.”

The Ministry of National Security says it will meet with all interested stakeholders over the next few weeks. Invitations have been sent out to the Belize National Teachers Union, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Belize Council of Churches, and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize.