The past weekend saw a spike in murders and shootings after the gunmen seem to have taken somewhat of a sabbatical. Seven shooting incidents with three persons losing their lives and one person critical in the hospital were reported for the Belize District alone. It is a case where the outcry for justice is becoming louder particularly since a 7-year-old boy died on Friday due to gun violence. The child’s mother, Shakera Young yesterday made an appeal to the powers that be to do more and to bring justice where it is due.
“I want to appeal to all the people that are influential to society, for government, Mr. Barrow, Mrs. Barrow, Mr. Aragon, all of you guys, Mr. Wylie, Ms. Phillips everybody all of you that are influential to these people these animals that are running the streets you know who they are you guys know and yes we are not able to say that yes they are the ones that did you guys know who did it you know and I know who did it but I will let their consciences be their guide.”
Responding to Young, who spent her birthday yesterday making plans to bury her only child, was Assistant Commissioners of Police, Dezeree Philips and Chester Williams. Both senior officers harped on the issue of community participation in solving crime.
“I clearly understand her cry her pain the anger that she feels but I have personally assured her in my visit I made to her and I’m also doing this publicly in providing an assurance that we are doing the best that we can. Yesterday we had two persons in custody this morning we have four persons in custody we are making some great strides in terms of the investigation and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to resolve this matter as I said earlier we will do the best that we can and that is the assurance that I can give to her and the public that we will do the best that we possibly can to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. You will agree with me that a bullet has no name or face and the reality is that criminals look for opportunities and to capitalize on any opportunity they find wherever they target present themselves they strike and so we want to encourage the public to become more involved in our efforts because this cannot be just an issue for the police, crime is everybody’s business if we continue to import the community to do their best and do some more along with us it takes a collaborative effort for us to make any kind of stride in terms of preventing crime or even decreasing criminal activities. Everybody has a role to play and we also have to call and the community to do a little more than what they are doing as well.”
“Just to add to what Ms. Phillips had said from South side we have been doing operations over the weekend and again this morning working with our north side counterparts to be able to get those persons we believe are responsible in custody so that they can be dealt with and I will adapt the comment of Ms. Phillips in saying that the issue of fighting crime is not solely that of the police, the police cannot solve all crime and it’s important that community play an integral role in how we fight crime within our community because the police are not at every street corner, if that was the case then it will be cut but we cannot. So when a crime occurs in an area where the police are not present then we expect that information will come from the public to be able to in our investigations and in the absence of that then we will always be at a stalemate and we don’t want that occurs so again I would like to reiterate the fact that the public does need to play a role of more active role in the fight against crime.”
In a press conference held yesterday in the Training Room of Precinct Three on Queen Street in Belize City, the role of the Gang Suppression Unit was questioned considering that majority of the shooting incidents seem to be gang or drug related.
“I would say that the GSU does conducts & yang operations on both North and South side but like us they can’t be at every place that all the time so in operations they are a part of it as well and we look at them to be able to assess in terms of looking at the different gangs and gang activities that they perpetrate and so they are very active in combating in dealing with the current situation.”
ACP Williams says there may be some mediation sessions taking place to curb the possibility of retaliation.