Has Belize surpassed the civil war benchmark? That is what Dr Herbert Gayle has said in his forum last week. In 2018, there was a total of one hundred and forty-three murders, which reflects a thirty-five point nine murder rate per one hundred thousand. Last week, Dr. Herbert Gayle, Jamaican social violence anthropologist, explained that when the murder rate surpasses thirty per one hundred thousand, as is the case with Belize, it means that the country has surpassed the civil war benchmark. Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, doesn’t agree with Gayle but acknowledges that we do have a crime problem in Belize.
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber: “The crime situation is at a crisis stage and has been for sometime now in this country. As I have gone on record to say time and time again that the solution to this does not lie in enhancing the work of the Police. It lies in getting back to the basics and I believe Dr. Gale’s position would support what I am saying exactly, that it has to be a social fix, that we go back to the basics of encouraging our children from very young. Catering to the needs of our people particularly our males and ensuring that they don’t find this option of crime and violence as attractive so when we embrace that that is the way to go then I think we will see some serious progress. It is not to say that I am not in agreement or I don’t value putting the resources in terms of crime fighting with the Police and so on. That is not what I am saying. I am just saying that that cannot be what we rely on to fix this problem. We have to nip the problem in the bud from where it starts and that is family structures and working with our young people to ensure that they know there are positive alternatives out there.”
Dr. Gayle pointed out that when a male does not have strong family ties, he then joins a gang which becomes in a sense his family. In 2010, Dr. Gayle had published a report, “Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize”, after conducting a comprehensive study of the crime and violence in Belize.