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Belize , Politics, News , Belize News

Dianne Finnegan says Gang Members are People too

Joseph Babb, a reputed gang leader was murdered on New Year’s Day. UDP Standard Bearer for the Lake Independence Division and well-known advocate for at-risk youths, Dianne Finnegan, spoke positively of the slain man and his support her in the Lake I convention.  This interview sparked criticisms on social media and from vocal attorney Lisa Shoman. Love News spoke to Finnegan about her comments.

UDP Standard Bearer Dianne Finnegan: “They just see that an influential person post something and then the thread starts. She and I her were facebook friends and then she blocked  me off it because I would not support a statement she made and you can’t speak freedom of speech and when if it’s not convenient for you or if you are not riding with me I will eliminate you, that’s the difference. She is entitled to her opinion and I know where I stand with mine. Anybody can tell you at the end of the day my purpose is just one, this job that I have, I have earned it.”

Jose Sanchez: “ What do you say to the people who do not want you to socialize or to communicate with people who are considered criminals or members of gangs?

UDP Standard Bearer Dianne Finnegan: “I call them hypocrites, why? Because these guys are conveniently used when it’s about their purpose and their agenda, all of these guys from across this nation can tell you. I speak one language and that one language that I speak to them is upliftment, empowerment, stability. The fact that what they do is not healthy, its destructive and it hurts, it hurts the people that they are hurting but it hurts this country, this nation and so when I sit and I talk to them, when I pass by and I stop and I see one of them and I just come out and talk to them it’s one message, one language and that is why I get mad respect from every single one of those individuals. Everybody have their and I can understand that their interest and their explanation to all this is at a different level because of the fact that they see things at a more diplomatic level. I just see things for the way it is, the reality of things. These individuals are citizens of this country, they are marginalized, they are underprivileged individuals, they come from good homes because when you tap into their homes you will hear the family how concerned they are about these individuals: their sons, their daughters who have strayed from the morals and the values and the discipline that was instilled in them from the homes. There is nothing wrong.

Finnegan referred to the people who won’t give at-risk youths a second chance at getting a job or education as hypocrites. She believes her words were twisted to give the impression that she was being influenced when her work with the Youth Apprenticeship Program as well as her time have all been used to get these young men and women to change their lives and become better people.

UDP Standard Bearer Dianne Finnegan: “You should see my file that I have of how many individuals are in need of jobs, how many individuals have come into my office to say that I don’t want to live that lifestyle anymore. I don’t want to go down that path anymore help me. It is because of them I am doing this. To twist and manipulate my interview to make it look as if though these individuals are doing favors for me is truly a disrespect to who I am as a woman whose integrity is very clean when it comes to the work that I do with people across the board, it bothers me. They aren’t doing me any favor and that is why and I really would hope that you would hear this.  I didn’t have to pay not one individual to come out and vote for me. I spoke specifically of Joseph because of the way our paths had crossed and the fact that when he called to intervene on the journey that he was travelling, he wanted to make some positive changes in his life and he has done that. When you see a man go into a community naked it is because he feels that lifestyle that he onced lived no longer exists. The reality is that often times your past comes back to haunt you. They are people and they have their own power, the kind of power that I am trying to take away from them is one that has instilled fear in this nation, in our communities, in society. The kind of power were people can’t even go out and have a good time anymore because they fear what they may cross paths with if they come home after hours or they fear that when they do go out and come home there is nothing in there home so that kind of power that they have is a dangerous power and  I’m saying to them it’s time for you to step down from that dead end avenue and work towards productivity, stability, regaining back the trust of society.”