Initially approximately 100 individuals were detained in Belize City when the State of Emergency was declared on a portion of the south side of Belize City. Human rights observers noted that it may have been a draconian move since people were being detained up to 30 days at the Belize Central Prison without a trial. Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber said he supported the State of Emergency and the fact that there have been less murders proved the measure works. However, he expects Government measures such as the BOOST and food pantry programs to make a difference.
Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “This vexing problem of crime has to be tackled with all our might. Our recent move to declare urban violence in Belize City as a national emergency was one that was absolutely necessary and in my mind an appropriate response to what has become no less than a national crisis. Since the detention exercise in early September we have seen an exponential fall in the number of street killings and this is not by accident. This is proof that it is without a doubt that this small group of men, members of gangs involved in turf warfare and armed with dangerous weapons have been the main contributors to the spate of violence that dominated the headlines. While caution is being taken that the rights of all Belizeans are respected we must ensure that the safety and security of law-abiding citizens are placed at the forefront and if drastic measures have to be taken to ensure this so be it. Now, this singular action is not the end all for our plans to secure our streets. We understand that social intervention must expand in risk areas and that that focus must be on building strong family structures, expanded educational support and increased economic opportunities for our youth. With this in mind investment programs such as BOOST, the pantry program, our education subsidies and housing grants will continue to be rolled out and expanded with more specific targeting to those families at risk.”