Over one hundred criminal elements are back on the streets as the State of Emergency for the south side of Belize City has expired. The SoE was initially effected in August with an aim to mitigate crime during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was then extended for another two months to keep known gang members at bay. The over one hundred and thirty prisoners have now all been released, but according to the CEO of the Belize Central Prison, Virgilio Murillo, the men were being releases in phases.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “They were being let out incrementally and this started from last week I think sometime around maybe Wednesday or Thursday if I’m not mistaken but the bulk, 63 total, left today because they were the ones remaining and I have no other warrant to continue to keep them so I had to release them. I don’t have any idea how they determined who were released before who. I go by the order that is signed, the variation order that is, that is signed by the Minister for National Security and so when he sends one there are a list of names that ought to be sent home then my responsibility is just to follow that order and send them as per the order so I am not a part of the mechanism that determines who goes and who does not go.”
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Myvette stated that the police had increase its presence in the city to monitor the actions of those who were released.
ACP Joseph Myvette, Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch: “In relation to the issue of Belize City we have stepped up our presence and we are definitely going to increase our operations. I won’t say that the incidents over the weekend in Belize City may not have been related to some of those persons but we are going to be specifically targeting those persons whom we know were involved in the weekend incidents in Belize City and in relation to those persons you spoke about yes measures are being put in place to deal with any spin off that may arise from when they are released from prison.”