Earlier this week we have heard that the curfew or preventative detention of youth on the streets, unsupervised, has been given the green light. Assistant Commissioner Police Chester Williams made the initial announcement of this initiative on March 17 following the BLACK March by the Belize Police Department. That announcement had sparked much debate in the court of public opinion as well as among agencies that deal with children. UNICEF’s Country Representative, Ivan Yerovi had expressed his opposition on the initiative from the get go and now that the police have not gotten the nod to proceed, Yerovi told Love News that he stands by what he had said initially.
Yerovi says that he had met with the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche where he learnt that the ministry is becoming involved because the police may not be equipped to carry out the guidelines and protocols in social work.
Love News asked Yerovi what would be the alternatives to such an initiative for which he explained that there are agencies who have been working with the young persons including Restore Belize and others. This curfew, he says, will set back these agencies and the works they have been doing.
As it relates to the implications of detaining children, Yerovi made reference to other countries where initiatives like this are carried out.
Presently UNICEF Belize focuses on young child survival, education and development, disparity reduction through policy investment and participatory governance, and the protection of children against violence.