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Why so much crime? PUP leader comments

Crime in Belize has seen a surge in recent months.  It has resulted in law-abiding citizens becoming fearful of being on the streets.  While crime has always been an issue regardless of which Government is in power, the opposition never fails to hold elected officials accountable.  Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, did just that yesterday, saying that the urgency remains for a solution to the crime situation.

Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “We’ve have been saying it over and over, the government does not have a plan as to how it is that we’re going to go after the criminals and when you don’t have a plan that’s exactly what is happening. Our economy is in a mess, people can’t get jobs, cost of living continues to go up and all of this breeds this fertile ground for crime and it’s unfortunate now that some of these young kids now feel that they have to get into a life of crime selling drugs or whatever it is and they end up being killed. We have said it over and over we are prepared to sit down with the government, we have offered to work with the government, to this day the 16th of September 2019 I’ve been leader since 2016 I’ve offered to meet with the Minister of National Security and not once has he deemed it important to invite us to sit with him for us to be able to work with him.”

Briceno noted some of the ways that crime can be dealt with within our country.

Hon. John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “There are basic things that need to be done. We need to set up the forensic lab because that can help us to get the necessary evidence to convict these criminals. We need to be able to work with the DPP so that we can have more trained persons that they then can assist the police in getting the evidence, getting statements from these criminals because in many instances what happens is that when they go to court we lose the case on some technical point so we need to be able to strengthen that. We need to depoliticize the police department. It is unfortunate, it is sad, it is disgusting that for you to be able to become a police officer in this day and age you need to be able to get a letter from a UDP minister, UDP representative or a UDP standard bearer- that should be removed, police officers are not there to be able to work for a political party they’re there to protect every single citizen in this country. So these are basic steps that need to be done and there is a list of things that we can do, we have said this so many times but until the government is prepared to get its act together it’s unfortunate more and more people are going to get killed.”

For the first quarter of the year, January to March, the Belize Crime Observatory has recorded a total of 32 murders.