Today, was the start of Youth Week in Belize but unfortunately, it began on a somber note due to the fatal shooting of a fourth-form student in rural Belize. The killing of Ethan Thompson, much like the others in the past have sparked an urgent need for something to be done about the crime situation in Belize. This morning the Minister of Youth Kevin Bernard, the Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde and the Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa met to discuss the current crime situation on the south side of Belize City. Minister of Youth, Kevin Bernard says the meeting was geared at discussing the social issues affecting youth on the south side.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports & E-Governance: “The shooting of a young student again I mean it just saddens us to see where we are as a society, as a country we need to really do our part and that’s one of the things that myself, Minister Mahler, the Acting Prime Minister Honorable Cordel Hyde, Honorable Dolores Balderamos was here and Minister Musa was here to discuss the social ills affecting our young people but our society here especially in the south side and find ways how we could target and address that. The commitment of government is to ensure that we have to find the necessary resource and as members of Cabinet we have been saying this that we need to ensure that we put the necessary monies into the programs that will see and get results. So we are serious. I mean I can tell you as from my end as the Minister responsible for Youth and our Minister Mahler here who is also a representative of Pickstock Division and one of the southside areas we are all committed to see that we can achieve and turn things around here in the city. It’s critical for us to do that. We cannot continue to see our young men die, our young students who have not even able to enjoy their life lose their life so recklessly because of gun violence and so as a government we have to do our part to ensure we find the resources necessary and put the necessary programs in place that can assist our young people to become our productive citizens.”
Minister Musa also commented on the meeting and said that his government is banking on a multi-sectoral approach to stem the root causes of crime.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “We’ve had a little lul over the last five days thankfully but as you understand the government has the political will now to address the root causes of crime. On October 5th we presented a Cabinet paper that is multi sectoral approach to fighting crime and fighting poverty particularly in Belize City. That was approved on October 5th and where we are today is actually setting out the roadmap of how we’re going to roll this out because that budget was in fact approved, a million dollars was in the supplemental budget.
Members of the Leadership Intervention Unit were also present in today’s meeting.