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PM Briceno Reacts to Mass Shooting in Hopkins

Four men accused of the mass shooting at the Wabinaha nightclub this past weekend are Sittee River residents, 28-year-old Brian Andrews, 28-year-old Kenyon Moore, 35-year-old Sherwin Moore, and 43-year-old retired Canadian soldier John Roy Smith. They have been charged with murder and are currently at the Belize Central Prison. The mass shooting shocked the nation and left two persons dead and eight others injured. Prime Minister John Briceno this morning was asked for a reaction to this crime. 

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: I don’t think we could really find adequate words to express just the horror of what happened in Hopkins. It’s something that’s so unbelievable.It’s something that, in my mind, just doesn’t happen here. It could be the advent of international media, of watching international T.V. is starting to change the mindset of some of our young people. I’ve always said that I feel very strongly that we have to go hard at crime. We have to go hard at the criminals.  And it seems that the police moved very quickly. They’ve managed to get the person who was driving the getaway car, and it seems that based on the evidence that they’ve managed to find the three persons that committed the crime.  It seems.  I want to make sure that we get the best prosecutors to go after them, and if it’s left up to me, they should not see the light of day. They should be locked up for the rest of their lives.  And to point to other criminals that we will go after them.  As it is right now, we are using more technology, within the police department.  We’re starting to work on putting up more cameras. We have a loan with CABEI that will allow us to put more cameras in the hotspots especially in Belize City.  We’re getting body cameras for the police officers so that when they’re out there they know that A. they can’t misbehave and B. if people are misbehaving then we can capture that. We are hiring a few more police officers, and we’re ensuring that these police officers are capable, and that they are trainable, and that they can be able to do the work. But that is only one part of the equation. The other part is the social aspect of it. That there seems, especially with our young people, a total breakdown of the social fabric in the way that they think and they behave. And that is why we are saying that we have to invest in education. As it is right now we are starting the programme here on the south side of Belize City where it’s a small geographic area, but where we have some of the most challenging social issues, to ensure that these kids can be in school. That we can pay all their fees and their school books and everything to keep them in schools.  So we’re doing everything possible to address it from both angles.