The opposition Party (UDP) is calling for Minister Kareem Musa and his CEO Kevin Arthurs to step down after what the party describes as a total failure in curbing crime. The party sent out a release on Monday expressing alarm at the explosive rates of murders and other violent crimes occurring around the country. The release in looking at numbers stated that, ‘Just this past weekend, there were three (3) new murders, two (2) of them in Belize City. For the period of January to September of 2021, there were already ninety (90) murders, compared to seventy-four (74) for the same period in 2020. Gang-related gun-violence is now directly affecting the most innocent and vulnerable citizens, as many of the victims have been children and elderly persons.’ Love News spoke with UDP’s Party Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte, who explained the basis of their call for the resignations.
Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “Both himself and his CEO. Both Minister Musa and CEO Arthurs they were some of the most vocal critics against the government at the time. They had so much to say. They had all the solutions in the world. You would think that once they were named police minister and CEO that they would fix the problem in one week. That’s according to them the way how they made it sound. I was Attorney General, the Minister of Police, BDF, Coast Guard, Forensics and all of that they have four PUP ministers doing what just I was doing. Four of them are doing what me one mi di do and so you have Minister Musa and CEO Arthurs all they have is police you know that’s the only thing that they have so you’re telling me that you only have one part of a portfolio that I had but you can’t focus on it enough to try and figure out what’s going on at this time ? And even though we always had crime and we did have crime somehow now it seems that the criminal activity is getting more intense, more viscous, more reckless because there isn’t a feeling that the people in charge are doing what they’re supposed to be doing to fight crime and clearly it’s all knee jerk. They don’t have a plan similar to this PUP government on a whole they came into government without a plan.”
The release goes on to say, quote, “Rather than focusing their efforts on effectively fighting crime and restoring safety and security in our communities, the Minister and his CEO are busy engaging in lavish trips abroad, at the expense of Belizean taxpayers, to wine and dine with foreign celebrities. Peyrefitte spoke on this aspect saying it is an insult to the Belizean people.
Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “And it doesn’t help that you are on some diaspora trip abroad and you’re gallivanting both with liquor and cigar and not only that but hosting it for the world to see? Like, people are dying in the streets of Belize City and the country and you are photo-opping with people who you know and stuff like that ? Come on. I’m not questioning anybody’s right to recreate and enjoy yourself but you cannot be putting in the face of the Belizean people you di celebrate on boat, on the beach and all of that taking pictures with NBA players and all smiles and smiles when you have a chronic problem in the country for which you are in charge of it’s policing. It just shows a disconnect. It just shows that you have no idea of the pain that people are suffering and it makes you completely tone deaf as to what’s going on. So we say whilst they were asking for people to step down we in the UDP are saying to Prime Minister Briceno that there has to be a change. Clearly Minister Musa and CEO Arthurs are not cutting. They’re not cutting it. Make a change, shuffle the deck and see if we can get somebody else who would be more effective with the crime situation in Belize.”
The release goes on to say, quote, “adding insult to injury, the insensitivity and lack of initiative by the political directorate to fight crime is further aggravated by the fact that a PUP Minister’s own son, who is an ex-policeman, is being linked to one of the murders over the weekend and was allegedly caught in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. In light of their abject failure and inability to address the crisis of uncontrolled crime and violence, the United Democratic Party calls on the Minister and his CEO to do the honorable thing and resign, and on the Prime Minister to address the nation on this urgent national issue and say what his government intends to do about it.” End of quote