Is the Leadership Intervention Unit failing in its attempts to reform Belize City gang members? 

Is the Leadership Intervention Unit failing in its attempts to reform Belize City gang members? 

Is the Leadership Intervention Unit failing in its attempts to reform Belize City gang members?  That’s the question being asked after several of the organization’s members have been caught on the wrong side of the law. On Tuesday, police busted ill-famed PIV leader 41-year-old Edwin “Drive” Flowers and another LIU member for several guns and kilos of marijuana and cocaine. Flowers has been working closely with the LIU since its inception, but it seems the Belize City man has been deceiving the unit. Yesterday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams weighed in on the discussion and defended the unit’s efforts in fighting crime. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The LIU is a vehicle that we are using to see how we can change the minds and hearts of some of these street figures and I can see where in some instances it is working. The LIU is not a shield for anybody and so I don’t want no one to believe that because a particular person is a member of LIU or works with LIU that they are immune from criminal liability or from the police going to their homes and search. I’ve always said that once the police get information of the involvement of anybody in crime or anything illegal the police is going to do what needs to be done regardless of who that person or persons may be. And so yes Drive is an employee of LIU or he works closely with LIU. He’s one of the persons in the program and we have tried our best to work with him and it goes back to what I have said that we police with a double edged sword where we offer the soft or the dull side to those persons who demonstrate that they want to change but once they continue to perpetrate criminal acts then we have to use the sharp side of the sword and cut them off. It’s as simple as that.”

Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa says the men will now be removed from the program. He commented on the matter today and noted that while there are bad actors in the LIU, many others are hoping to leave their criminal ties behind them. 

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “It pains me a lot as minister because we have been working a lot over the past few years with some of these young men, not all of them, who have indicated that they do not want to lead this life and I can tell you right off the bat that last year PIV was extremely quiet, was extremely dormant, they were complying, they were part of the LIU, they were active in positive ways and so it is very disturbing but if you have been following the trends lately with the passing and the murder of Jose Matus there was left a huge void as you might have known Mr.Matus was a major supplier in Belize and so perhaps the temptation got the better of them and based on these high powered weapons it’s quite possible that this new group is working along with cartel elements and so we have to look at that possibility because these guns don’t just show up just like that. And as you know the cartels are always looking for someone to work with for the illegal supply of cannabis and it’s been something I’ve been saying since day one when we got into office, this illegal trade of cannabis is killing so many Belizean young men because of the turf wars that are happening. And so if you analyze the situation there seems to be some sort of a transfer of power when it comes to this particular trade and we will do our very best from the police department to nip it in the bud and go after these bad actors because while last year you might have been complying clearly this year you’re not.”

The LIU is headed by Dominique Noralez, who took over last year.

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