The gun violence continues on an upward trend in Belize City as the death toll rises to well over one hundred and five deaths. In our Interview with Dianne Finnegan this afternoon and given her proximity with the various gang factions in Belize City, we asked what she believes is contributing to the spike in gun violence.
“The lack of opportunities. Why Justin Hyde doesn’t have a job and if you speak to his mom she will tell you. If you go to the police department they can pull his records because he applied to be a police officer and he passed his test and he did his medical test and he did everything that was required of him but he was never called. So whose fault is it that he is not a productive citizen today when he is not given the opportunity. You could speak to many of those guys in the intervention and you’ll see who has an associate’s degree, who has a 4th form diploma. Don’t look down on those guys because they don’t dress like us. Opportunities must be given across the board. Why aren’t these things in place in order to make the lives of individuals who don’t want to be behind a desk like you and I but they prefer doing what they enjoy doing and it doesn’t matter if they have a job or not, if they like smoking weed they will smoke weed that is neither here nor there. That is not the contributing factor it’s the lack of opportunities that we look down on these individuals as not deserving to earn a decent living. If through the apprenticeship program young people have learned to be able to satisfy with $100 per week tell me if those guys wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that they can put food on their table by getting $100 a week. We haven’t opened the avenues to discuss with them what it is they want, what would make their lives better, we only assume things because those who have the degrees decide that they know the answer but they’ve never rolled up their sleeves and gone into those communities to speak to those young men and seek deep down in their heart to know what they have to offer and contribute to this country.”
Finnegan adds that while she may not be supportive of the Police Department’s tactics at times, she is not working against the department either.
“I want to make it very clear that my purpose has never been to work against the police department. I really thought that when Chester left it would have just been a smooth flow and things would have continued along that path because our purpose was about peace for this city and country but I have to speak out about the wrongs being done that has contributed to so many deaths, we are up to 20 deaths between August to present and that is sad and it’s not going to stop. As we just saw how do you commit a murder at lunch time? How does that happen?”