Crime rate in Belize remains a daily concern for Belizeans. Last week, UDP Chairman Senator Michael Peyrefitte said that Belize is on track for another violent year. Consequently, he called on the resignations of the Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, his CEO Kevin Arthurs and Police Commissioner, Chester Williams. During an interview, Musa stated that the government has introduced solutions geared at mitigating the effects of crime.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “I think that Belizeans are not in any way fooled by the noise that is being made. They realize that the previous government had 13 years of a chance, of an opportunity to fix crime in this country and you can see from just the statistics over the last year and a half, even in COVID where financially and economically our people took a hit, even then, crime was down compared to the UDP years. And so, people are not stupid Jules. They understand that crime is a very complex issue. They understand that the programs and the initiatives that we are putting in place is not an overnight fix. I know that the previous administration, or the representatives now, the ones that are making the noise, are calling for a State of Emergency and I am saying to them that that is only a band-aid temporary fix. You are creating monsters. Yes they are going behind bars but they come out and they continue to commit crime and I’m not in any way saying that we will not have another state of emergency because there comes a time when too many people are being killed. We have to realise that and the retaliations are just ongoing, that we have to say you know what there needs to be a pause, a time out, because it’s getting really out of hand. So I’m not saying that that is not an option. I’m just saying that that is not the remedy to crime and that is what the United Democratic Party feels- just lock them up and that will be the end of crime. That’s not how it works.”
The Commissioner of Police, Chester William, says that addressing the problem is not an easy feat. He further explained that the police’s approach to tackling gang-related crimes has to be tactical so as to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “You know the dynamics of crime in Belize City, the complexity of policing in Belize City. It is not that you can take off your cap and pull a feather from there and you wave that feather and the problem goes away. It is so complex. It is changing and as a department we try to be as versatile as we can to be able to address the problem and whenever we see that there is some flare up, you know that once there is a gang related murder, a retaliation is inevitable. We know that. It would be idle of us, or as your favourite word would go, we wouldn’t. I wouldn’t acquiesce on something like that to know that there might be some retaliation and we did nothing. So, yes, I deployed additional human resources from Belize City from our Specialized Unit to be able to address the gang issue. So they are in the gang-ridden areas, especially those areas where we expect flare ups, ensuring that we do what needs to be done to prevent any retaliations in respect to the recent shootings that we have had. Mr. Gamboa, regardless of what anybody may want to say about him, he is an effective commander. You give him a task and he is going to run with it and he is going to make sure he does his best so that we can achieve the desired results at the end and that is the reason why he remains to be the Commander of the SBU.
In crime related news, one person has been charged for the murder of 32-year-old Ernest Staine. He is 27-year-old fisherman Kendale Flores of Seine Bight Village. Investigators believe that Flores is the man who fatally shot Staine on January 30, 2022, while in Seine Bight Village. Staine was socializing with some friends at Wamassa Bar when he was targeted.