Surge in Deadly Crimes Takes Toll on Belizean Businesses
The recent uptick in deadly crimes is affecting businesses, according to Business Senator Kevin Herrera. In the past two weeks, there have been six murders, five of which occurred in the Belize District. The sudden jump in homicides and gang activity has instilled fear in many residents, including business owners. Herrera explained that the crime situation has long affected businesses and their operation.
Kevin Herrera, Senator, Business Community: “You know, it’s unfortunate that we have not been able to get a handle on this crime situation and it just seems to be growing out of hand. And this is not any criticism on any specific administration but it’s just an issue that has been with us for so many decades now. And so we’re not really seeing any real solutions to it. I mean, there are reactions sometimes where you know there’s incarceration of some of the criminal elements over a period of time, but again, they’re let out and the same type of issues arise again. You know, it’s affecting everyone. It’s affecting, you know, people in business. It’s affecting home owners. It’s affecting the tourism industry. Belizeans are living in fear, generally. And everyone is thinking about, you know, how they can beef up their security, which there’s a cost. Companies, private individuals have to spend additional and some of this is significant in terms of beefing up their security and the state just seems to be failing to address this crime situation in any meaningful manner. The fact that every year we’re seeing, you know, crime rates the way we’ve been noting it over the years. And the fact that, you know, we’re all living in fear because of the situation speaks volumes. And in addition to that, and this is something that we probably haven’t taken into account, but what is the impact of this on the brain drain? I’ve heard parents before said they hope their kids don’t come back from college because of what the situation is. What is the impact of that? How many of our young and bright who are going out there to study are not coming back because of this situation? How many tourists are not coming to our shores because of this situation? I mean, in our industry you know some of the questions we get all the time in terms of clients visiting us is, is it safe? I mean, you know, can we just send one person or do we need to send two people? I don’t think that, you know, we can be lenient to those who are involved in these types of activities. I think there are solutions and maybe we might even need to get draconian I don’t know, but I think we need to do something and do something quickly. I mean, we can have our citizens, our law abiding citizens, living in fear and living with all these additional costs.”