As we noted earlier, the joint operation began as early as three o’clock this morning. By the time the citizenry began streaming the streets to get to work, the gang-ridden areas in Belize City were already under lock by the police, backed by BDF soldiers. They were keeping a close eye on the foot, bicycle, and vehicular traffic. In some instances, persons were unable to leave the area while others were unable to enter. Over the last 78 days, Belize has seen 35 murders around the country. Police Commissioner informed the media that ACP Joseph Myvette will lead the investigations into these homicides.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Mr.Myvette has been tasked that CIB will be divided into groups and they’ll be tackling the different investigations because while we have these people in prison we want the investigation around them to continue to see how much of these murders or shootings we can solve so that at the end of the day some of them will be charged for different crimes. The gang task force is also tasked to ensure that they ramp up the gang investigation with a view to have these gang members charged. For me what is more important is how those parents feel who have lost loved ones, how the grandparent of the two minors feel that they have lost their granddaughters that is what is more important to me. We have always been focusing about the accused, the accused, the accused what about the victim? Victims have no rights. We should begin to focus on the rights of victims so I’m not going to be perturbed by what the attorneys may think, if they want to represent that is their job to represent, at the end of the day the AG’s Ministry is there first if there will be a need for a legal battle over this situation.”
Of the 35 murders we have recorded for this year, twenty-six of them were due to gun violence; eight were due to stab or chop wounds and one was bludgeoned to death. Twenty-three of those murders occurred within the Belize District; three of them were children under the age of five; six were females between ages 16 and 63; twenty-six of them were males between ages 18 and 79. Police have made arrests in some of the cases while others are under investigation with a reward from Crime Stoppers for information leading to arrests. The crime wave, when compared to recent years, have seen a decline in 2020 and has only spiked in the last three weeks. These last few weeks are what has urged the police to declare the state of emergency and carry out this operation. Commissioner of Police says that as part of their efforts several of the checkpoints in the city will be removed.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Our law speaks to the issue of loitering and the people should not be loitering on the streets right ? And this is one of the things that we had been doing over the past few weeks clearing the streets and that’s why now you see the gang men are going to houses to shoot because they can’t find the target on the street anymore because we have been busy clearing the streets. So now we have to find a way now that we can now look at these gang people from intelligence standpoint and then we specifically go and target them. I also want to say in addition to our operations what we have done; you have seen a number of checkpoints around Belize City, we have now removed those checkpoints because we have found out that these checkpoints in certain gang ridden areas provide some sense of security to these gang members so what they do they go into other areas do their foolishness shoot at people then come back in their area and they are protected by the police. So that safe haven will no longer be there for them, we will move those checkpoints only a few will remain and those few are those that we believe are in different key locations but what we’ll do now is that instead of having the officers at one location at a checkpoint, those officers will now be used as a patrol team so they’ll patrol the whole area as opposed to remaining in one little area. Look for example at Taylor’s Alley it is shameful, it is disgraceful. We have police officers working there, we have had several murders at Taylor’s Alley and police is working there and to every one of these murders the police cannot tell us who do it.”