The murder rate in Belize City alone continues to increase at an alarming rate and while police have not issued an official report on where that number stands, the body count has surpassed one hundred ten and counting. The latest murder was recorded last night when thirty-one year old Keith Middleton was called outside and killed in his own back yard while his family was inside watching TV. Today, Belize City residents are uneasy as violent crimes are running the city streets red. As we have followed the recent incidents, there is notable fear for one’s own safety, doubt in the Belize Police Department and a growing concern within various sectors of the Belizean public.
The spate of gun violence within Belize City continues to grow. Some believe it’s out of control while others have noted the alarming audacity and cruelty of these crimes. It’s important to note though that the Police Department has not declared there is an increase.
Nonetheless, there is uncertainty among residents particularly in the areas where tensions run high due to gang warfare. People have, now more than ever, shut out the media and their trust in the Police continues to dwindle. Some like Ivarine Gomez, sister to Daniel Anderson who was shot and killed on October first have little to no faith that justice will prevail.
“I don’t know what happened we just want justice, which I don’t think really exists in Belize but you know the world is round. We don’t intend to do any kind of retaliation we are not into those kinds of things.”
In more recent cases, other sectors of the society have been affected. The murder of 72 year old Albert Cattouse has raised concern among other activists.
“Who is next? We don’t know who is next but it seems that there is no limit to anyone’s head in this country.”
But even in the face of threat, some are not submitting to fear.
“I’m not worrying about anyone because I’m not going to make anyone feel like I’m afraid of them and I will not run anywhere. That is the same thing my son, he told me that he will not let anyone chase him out of his own house.”
“I think they said George Price once said ‘who can stop a determined assassin?” so we are not afraid. Safety comes from God and if the lord can’t protect us there is not a security force that can protect us and so if any devil wishes to unleash their wrath we rely on the lord because he says that vengeance is his.”
Still, the concern over the crime wave in Belize City keeps growing and the call for peace is getting louder.
“As it is right now we are about five murders short of last year. The issue of crime is really just totally out of control and when we see an activist like Mr.Cattouse murdered it raises a lot of questions and we hope that him being murdered had nothing to do with his activism in our community and I ask that we all pray for Mr.Cattouse and his family and pray for our country and that we can try to take a closer look at what is happening in our society and to be able to reach out to one another; we are each other’s keepers.”
“Our leaders that we put in position to make a difference for this nation, I’m not pointing fingers, do your duty, do what you have to do. I am hoping with this that I am proving that only unit will take this nation up and I want to ask everyone to help their neighbor if they could, don’t only look at what your neighbor can do for you but look at what you can do for your neighbor.”