And with the political rhetoric out of the way, Minister Musa went into details with our newsroom on how he plans to execute his crime fighting strategy. Musa explained that he is banking on a multi-sectorial approach to address the crime problem effectively. He further added that his ministry has been working with other key counterparts to tackle the root causes of the issue, particularly on the south side of Belize City. He said part of the plan includes making constitutional and policy changes in education and gang warfare.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “We have to tackle crime from multiple angles, multiple perspectives. Of course there is the short term, the medium term and long term strategies that we’ve been developing and as recent as October 5th Cabinet approved a paper that was presented by the Ministry of Youth, the Ministry of Human Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs which is a comprehensive and a deliberate attempt on the part of the government to actually intervene particularly on the south side of Belize City with positive programs- something that has never been done before even under the last administration that saw eight powerful ministers presiding over the south side of Belize City. And so this is actually a deliberate attempt like I said. We are actually structuring a plan that involves free education on the south side of Belize City, changing the mandatory age for enrollment in school from 14 to 16 in the first instance, a job creation program as well because after school we have to have a transition from education into the workforce, a beautification project and as you heard the Prime Minister speak of creating the south side as a special development area.”
Minster Musa says he is confident that with the installation of the Leadership Intervention Unit that has now grown exceptionally, his ministry will see results in fighting crime.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “We have the buy in of the Leadership Intervention Unit which started off about eight months ago with a group of five headed by Mr.William Dawson and the Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr.Rosado. That group has now grown to include pastors, to include professors, lecturers, to include more police officers as well. Everybody all hands on deck, the business community, the Rotary, Cisco Woods, all of these individuals who are committed to this long term fixing of the crime situation in Belize. Now there’s the other component of that which is a tackling crime from a police standpoint and what I am happy to report is that in relation to the last five murders that we’ve had across the country the ones in San Pedro, PG and the two over the weekend in Belize City we have made arrests and we are getting the evidence and the police are going after those criminals very harshly, very hard and so we can expect more of that in the future. The police to actually up the ante on the criminals who are hell bent on wrecking havoc on the society and in particular south side of Belize City and we will be employing and enforcing the gang membership law against those individuals who do not wish to change their behavior. And so it’s going to take a long time.”