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Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Youth Meet with Rounded Gang Members

More than fifty young men remain locked up at the Belize Central Prison after they were arrested during several raids in particular areas of southside Belize City. The government implemented a State of Emergency in August and several known gang members were rounded up and hauled to the prison where they remain now. But this is a temporary fix to a wide societal problem that has been plaguing Belize City for decades. Home Affairs Minister Kareem Musa and Youth Minister Kevin Bernard today visited the young men and shared to them the government’s plan to offer reform and rehabilitation.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “This intervention strategy that we have been employing is not just something we started because of the violence in August. It is something actually that we started in June. As you would recall in July we issued forty ITVET scholarships to vulnerable marginalized young men who would otherwise not have gotten that opportunity and that comes out of the networking between ministries, between departments and the realization that crime is not a Ministry of Home Affairs issue it is a societal issue. Each and every ministry has a pivotal role to play when it comes to fighting crime and coming up with strategies to create opportunities for these young men. And so when you say that if it’s giving them false hope absolutely not. It is starting a process, a different revolutionary process that they have never seen before.”

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance: “I think it was critical that we come as the Minister in charge of the Department of Youth Service, the director said that they wanted to come in and offer a two week workshop training while these guys are here at the SOE, to hear from them and there’s two critical areas that would be directed the behavior modification and conflict management services and the health and wellness and the counseling services that the team from the department will conduct discussions – one on one discussions with these young men to see exactly what are the challenges that they are facing ? Why is it – and as I raised to them – why is it that you always hear this person can’t go over that area when we are all Belizeans, they are all young black men in this community. I hate to use that word, they’re all young Belizeans and Belizean youth that I think that while I listened to them they’re asking about they want opportunities that can come but they also need to do their part.”