The Most Comprehensive Research Ever On The Roots Of Violence In Belize

What is the cause of all the violence in Belize? And what's the solution? Those are questions we all want the answers to as the prevalence and randomness of crime has become a focal issue in our daily live s- particularly for those who live in Belize.

Now, a towering research document released yesterday has the answer to those questions and many more. It's called the Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize, a compelling and comprehensive analysis of the crime problem in Belize including suggestions for the way forward.

If the name sounds familiar, it should be, in July the researchers led by Jamaican violence anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle gave a 30 page summary report, and now the detailed 400 page report has been released.

Researcher, Nelma Mortis gave us a very cursory overview:

Nelma Mortis, Researcher
"What is research did was to look at the whole human ecology of Belize and of course we did identify a lot of issues including resources, vulnerable poor families, social isolation, social neglect."

Jules Vasquez
"Is the seed or the root of the problem is fractured family unit?"

Nelma Mortis, Researcher
"No, if you look at this model here, it begins with extreme urban poverty, which we spoke about just now in terms of the squealer and then that in turn burnt fractured families and then we have a lot of poor homes without nurturing and then we get what we call aggressive depress boys and those are the kinds that are recruited for gang formation and then they become, hence we breed this social violence we have. A lot of time we want to branch the problem into looking at the fractured family but that in of itself is not the total because in any state, the state is responsible to create certain opportunities for people to live in. We have a lot of hungry children, we have a lot of neglected children, and we also found lot children who have lost either their father or brother to crime. The study shows that children are exposed to some serious traumatic experiences in terms of the violence that have affected them which also have a psychological impact on their whole overall development because it then breeds anger and if there is not early intervention then there we go we lose another child to the gang formation and violence. It is also reaching the school level where even the very lives of teachers are being at threat because of the exposure to the gang or to violence in itself and so that is a major finding that children are expose to a lot of experiences as it relates to violence. we are hoping that institutions agencies, government could look at the research and at least pay critical attention to the chapter that is most suited to their work and try to utilize the statistics and the frame that is there as a base for propelling their social intervention and to bring Belize to that point of takeoff, in social science we refer to it as takeoff, and when we say takeoff its stability for economic and social growth. RESTORE BELIZE as the agency who has the mandate of ensuring coordination among all the social interventions that are taking place is planning to utilize the research as a tool for any king of social intervention and crime prevention programs that they will put in place."

As we said that is a very cursory overview. We'll be looking at it more in depth in the days ahead.

You can view and download the PDF version of the report here:

Channel 7