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#378968 - 06/03/10 02:22 PM Restore Belize
Marty Online   happy

Restore Belize; Government’s plan to combat crime and social malaise

dean barrow

A detailed and bureaucratic plan layered with numerous committees and subcommittees was unveiled this morning as Restore Belize, the government’s strategy to address violence and social ills plaguing the country. It is to be chaired by the prime minister, financed by the financial institutions and will involve a wide gamut of organizations, schools, churches, and even the Belize City Council which in April unveiled its own crime strategy. According to the prime minister, a program coordination unit has been set up and he will draw the expertise of a retired Belizean American formerly attached to the Boston Police Department. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at the Biltmore Plaza and has this report.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced his plan to diminish the growing concern that violent crime has gripped the country. Barrow said that the recent cabinet changes are integral to the operation dubbed Restore Belize.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There will be the Restore Belize Council that I will chair. That council will be comprised of members of the political directorate, in particular, the Minister of the Police and Public Safety, the Minister of Defense, Minister of Education and Youth, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Human Development, the Minster of Labour and the Minister of Sports. We had set up an inter-ministerial committee earlier; naturally, the Restore Belize Council at the top will replace that inter-ministerial committee on crime. The plan will be operationally, in an immediate way, be supervised by a steering committee and that steering committee will be constituted of all the chief executive officers of the ministries that I just mentioned together with the chair of the Crimes Control Council—I believe that’s Michael Young, as well as representatives and this is what is most important from the business community, the Non- Governmental Organizations and the community based organizations. All will have a seat on the program steering committee.”

Under the pyramid structure, the program steering committee will guide several sub committees which will concentrate their efforts on specialized areas of concern.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This steering committee will then direct the work of six operational subcommittees. Those subcommittees are one on police department reform; two, municipal government infrastructure aesthetics; third subcommittee, human development; fourth, a safe zones subcommittee; fifth, one on legislative reform and sixth, one on communications because throughout it will be critical to engage on a continual the public.”

In addition to NGO’s, the church, and a program coordination unit for all the committees, Barrow intends to reign in a Belizean American Cop with a distinguished background.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Perhaps the showpiece of what is to happen will be the implementation of what we call a community safe zone project. And this is to rehabilitate neighborhoods that are highly impacted by crime. I will get into the details of how that safe zone project will work just a little bit later. That’s perhaps job one in terms of what the plan envisages. It will as well be looking in terms of its overview on the implementation of police department reform based primarily on the recommendations in the Crooks Report. Implementation of those recommendations, a number of which have already passed muster, a number of which it is agreed are very good recommendations must be sped up. We will also try to bring in additional, international expertise and manpower to fill gaps that have been identified in the police department. There is one Belizean who has been away from this country for a long time and who retired as a commander of the Boston Police Department. I think he was in the military first and then he was at a very senior level in the Boston Police Department dealing with administrative reform but also dealing at one juncture with their anti-gang unit. He is coming in at the end of this month in early July to help us with the whole question of police department reform including how to get more bang for the buck in terms of the gang suppression unit in terms of the core policing efforts.”

A dedicated court for violent crime and a public education campaign to promote love for Belize is also in the Restore Belize plan.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The program will launch the “I Am Belize” public education campaign and this will include public service announcements to be developed and aired on radio and TV; to promote the specific social violence that I talked about; a schedule of motivational speeches and summer camps; inviting individual citizens, athletes, media personalities, successful professionals, grassroots organizers, rehabilitated gang members, artists, including no doubt I hope the musical good will ambassador. If I wah tek heat ih betta look like produce and these speakers will engage the students naturally to discuss and promote issues of national identity, character values and so on. Today we take the first step in a journey that we hope over time will lead to an effective solution to this problem. We naturally cannot expect a complete resolution anytime soon but we do expect that you, the public, will be able to see measurable results very soon indeed.”

No doubt the measuring stick for the program includes a decrease in shootings, as well as the public perception about safety. Implementation of Restore Belize is expected to commence by the beginning of August. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The Biltmore Plaza was overflowing with the rest of Cabinet, other public officers and the diplomatic community.


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#378969 - 06/03/10 02:22 PM Re: Restore Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

NEW PLAN UNVEILED TO FIGHT CRIME

Prime Minister today unveiled, Restore Belize; Government’s new anti crime plan. Prime Minister Barrow began his presentation by saying this is the first step in a journey which over time will lead to an effective solution to the problem of crime. He said the plan will be quote “the flesh on the bare bones of the framework”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

 “The program anchoring this plan will function in a way that will see the structure operate as a coordinating agency that will pull together all the individual government entities involved in both the enforcement side of things and the social intervention sides of things. Pull them all together so that there is no duplication of effort, so there is complimentarity and so that together there can be this confrontation of this complex array of institutional, social and economic issues that have bred the situation that we are confronted with today. The institutional structure, right at the top there will be the Restore Belize Council that I will chair and that Council will be comprised of members of the political directorate in particular the Minister of Police and Public Security, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Education and Youth, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Human Development, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Sports. We had set up an inter-ministerial committee earlier, naturally the Restore Belize Council at the top will replace that inter-ministerial committee.”

This will be supervised by a steering committee made up of the CEOs of the relevant ministries as well as representatives from the business community, non governmental and community based organizations. Six operational sub committees will be formed. These will address Police Department reform, human development, legislative and judicial reform, safe zones. Municipal government and infrastructure and communications. The Prime Minister went into some of the specific objectives of the plan. Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Perhaps the showpiece of what is to happen will be the implementation of what we call a community safe zone project and this is to rehabilitate neighbourhoods that are highly impacted by crime. That’s perhaps job one in terms of what the plans envisages. It will as well in terms of its overview on the implementation of police department reform based primarily on the recommendations in the Crooks report, implementation of those recommendations, a number of which has already passed muster, a number of which it is agreed are very good recommendations must be sped up. We will also try to bring in additional international expertise and manpower to fill gaps that have been identified in the police department. The ministry of the Attorney General which why I say again that we wanted to bring in a new Attorney General who would concentrate full time on this particular task would be working under the aegis of the plan with the Crimes Control Council to identify ways in which the judicial processes can be expedited, ways in which we can improve on securing convictions, ways in which we can perhaps charter a dedicated court at the level of the Magistracy to deal with violent crimes. These are things we have been talking about, but these are things that require the single minded effort of an Attorney General who has the time and who will be able to work with the Magistracy and the Judiciary to get these things done.”

As part of the program, there will be the establishment of two safe zones in Belize City.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The idea is to establish partnership with these designated communities, partnerships that will involve the operators of the plan, will involve NGOs, will involve the private sector to ensure that the kind of intervention that will be targeted at these communities by way of the safe zone project will effectively address the issues specific to that area, the social issues specific to the areas we are targeting. It is a kind of community rehabilitation strategy and it has been used. What we are doing is coordinating, bringing things together, trying some new initiatives but initiatives that have been attempted elsewhere and have worked elsewhere and this community safe zone project is based on models that have been used successfully in various cities. As I said the aim is to try to prevent crime in the designated zone because of providing targeted social assistance to the families and residents in the area. We are saying to people, in return for requiring this area to be crime free we are going to provide you with the wherewithal to improve your lives. It is not just going to be a matter of moral preaching it is making the word flesh so to speak.”

The implementation date for the establishment of these zones is August of this year. The Prime Minister said he plans to hold a meeting with the leader of the opposition John Briceno sometime next week to see how the opposition can be made to feel that they must have full and equal participation to make the plan a success.

LOVE FM

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#378972 - 06/03/10 02:30 PM Re: Restore Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
This week, the issue of crime came home to the Prime Minister in a most direct way as his long time law partner and very close friend Rodwell Williams was targeted in an execution attempt. His condition is still very critical in a Miami Hospital but considering his injury, he is very lucky to be alive and later on you'll hear direct testimony of that from the team of five doctors who worked on him. It was under those most troubling circumstances that the Prime Minister today presented his long awaited programme to offer a solution to break through the smothering atmosphere of crime and violence that has gripped particularly Belize City. It's called Restore Belize and here's what it promises.

Jules Vasquez Reporting
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin - that's a centuries old rhetorical putdown - but this morning we wanted to ask how many excellencies, honourables, CEO's, contract officers, party supporters, and well-wishers could crowd into a conference room. It was shoulder to shoulder seating and standing room only inside the conference hall at the Belize Best Western Biltmore. And perhaps that is because the issue of crime even more than the battle against the Ashcroft Alliance - has become the defining challenge of the Barrow Administration.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"The crime and violence problem afflicting our society is in my view the most important task at hand."

And because it is such a large task there is no simple solution; the strategy is broad and the machinery complex - but the PM says the results will be real and immediate:

Hon. Dean Barrow
"The fact is that today we take the first step in a journey that we hope over time will lead to an effective solution to this problem. We naturally cannot expect a complete resolution anytime soon but we do expect that you the public will be able to see measurable results very quickly indeed."

When challenged to define how those results would be measured, the PM had no answers - or none that we could measure, but that we imagine will be left to the bureaucracy which will oversee project Restore Belize - and that stands for Re-Establish Security Through Outreach Rehabilitation And Education.

Hon. Dean Barrow
"The programme anchoring the plan will function in a way that will see the structure operate as a coordinating agency that will pull together all the individual government entities involve in both the enforcement side of things and the social intervention side of things."

That coordination will come from a Restore Belize Council that will be led by a Restore Belize council led by the Prime Minister with membership of five ministers - which will feed down to a steering committee which will supervise and operationalise the plan. That committee will have representation from the business community, NGO's and community based organizations.

That will lead to 6 subcommittees - again with community representation.

All these many moving parts will come under a full time programme coordination unit - which will do the work and be held to account for results:

Hon. Dean Barrow
"That is what will implement the actions, carry out the directives identified by the programme steering committee and the operational sub-committees. That is what will ensure that when the programme steering committee and the operational sub-committees are called to account by the public that they would be able to produce a balance sheet showing that deliverables have in fact been acted upon."

But while all that may sound suspiciously like a labyrinthine bureaucracy, that coordinating unit will start delivering real results and soon with the community safe zones which is already set for two communities.

Hon. Dean Barrow
"Initially we want to start with 2 distressed communities on the Southside of course of Belize City. The idea is to establish partnerships with these designated communities and this community safe zone project is based on models that have been used successfully in various cities from Baltimore to Bogota. The aim is to try to prevent crime in the designated zone while and perhaps because of providing targeting social assistance to the families and residents in the area. We are saying to people in return for requiring this area to be crime free we are going to provide you with the wherewithal to improve your lives. It's not just going to be a matter of moral preaching it is a matter of making the word flesh so to speak."

Implementation can take place by the beginning of August - but before that by the end of June the first initiative will be launched - it's a values restoration effort through public education.

Hon. Dean Barrow
"The consultations have shown that the people to whom we've spoken and because I listed them you know that it's a broad based grouping, those people in fact feel strongly that there is a need for this kind of public campaign to try to restore values such as civic pride, respect for each other. The program will launch the 'I am Belize' public education campaign and this will include public service announcements to be developed and aired on radio and TV to promote the specific social values that I talked about."

And while these programmes are ongoing, there will also be work to crackdown on quality of life crimes.

Hon. Dean Barrow
"Another initiative, another objective is to target aggressively the so called 'Quality of Life Crimes' now this refers to the relatively minor, non-violent illegal type of behavior that can collectively undermine people's sense of well-being and public safety and that contributes to the whole aura of slippage as a society and that to some extent are almost directly related to the larger crimes having to do with gang violence and turf conflict and all that. Let me give you examples of what I mean when I say 'Quality of Life Crimes': traffic offences, public drinking, petty theft, vandalism, littering, noise pollution from bars and night clubs, loitering that sort of thing."

And so you should expect results quickly.

Hon. Dean Barrow
"By the end of June we will have started the public consultations and be ready to launch the 'I am Belize' public education campaign and begin the operations."

Of course, there is the issue of funding - without which all this is just another well meaning song and dance. The prime minister indicated at least twice that international agencies such as the IDB, The CDB and others have been approached and are willing to assist with funds and resources. For starters, IDB has committed to 5 million US dollars for a youth and community transformation project.

Channel 7


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