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#434240 - 03/28/12 01:53 PM Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy?
Marty Offline

On Wednesday night, March 21, several residents of Taylor’s Alley, off Orange Street and close to the downtown area of Belize City, were allegedly viciously assaulted by armed members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU).

It is the second incident to take place in almost two months.

In late August of last year, in the aftermath of a brutal clash between armed law enforcement forces and residents of George Street after a funeral, the Government was prompted to negotiate a peace with the various gangs across the City, which has since seen them employed in various projects and being paid for their efforts.

The truce has been under threat almost from its inception, following such incidents as the death of Joshua Abraham, 9, on Independence Day, September 21, near his home on Victoria Street; the killing of another 9-year-old, Aaron Pope, at his George Street residence after a home invasion, and most recently, an attack on an apartment complex in the heart of George Street territory, on Dean and Plues Streets, which has sparked a threatened lawsuit.

In this latest incident, according to the victims, three squads of police officers, two in the camouflage uniforms of the GSU and the rest a mix of Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) and Dragon Unit officers, entered the alley and, without apparently either introducing themselves or explaining the reason for their presence, began to beat and assault certain residents in the presence of their families and children, leaving one with a broken jaw and sprained ankle. The incident took place in less than an hour, from approximately 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., and at its end the officers left as they came.

Speaking with the local television outlets after the incident, the most well-known of the persons assaulted, Arthur Young, appeared to be in one breath threatening possible retaliation for Wednesday night’s events, and in another, shying away from such retaliation.

Young told Channel 7, in reference to the GSU: “I don’t know who are dealing with the GSU, but GSU have to know that we know where they live and we know where their woman lives and we know their children. We know everything, so if they are trying to turn us into a monster, they have to watch out, because if we turn into a monster, then there would be a lot of bloodshed and we don’t want to do that.”

“They supposed to try come in here and talk to us, reason with us or something. You can’t come and beat us up because that will not happen. That will have to stop.”

But elsewhere in the interview, he stated, “We just have to stay strong and at the same time we have to focus, because if we deal with the officers the same way how they deal with us, it will be bloodshed, because we can do the same thing, but we just are restraining ourselves from doing that because that is not what we want.”

And he said to Channel 5, regarding the relationship between residents and police: “I think it is not fair because the police could come and do their job, and we always respect them when they come around, and if they want someone, they can just take them. But if they come and keep beating us like that, then a man can only take so much. And then we don’t want to have no problem like that with the law.”

Later in that interview, he again appeared to straddle the thin line between retaliation and reconciliation.

So which is it? For now, it appears to be reconciliation, as Amandala found out this afternoon when we visited the alley and spoke to residents, including Young.

Asked specifically about his “tough talk,” Young explained, “Belize dah wa small country. Everybody know each other. So we don’t need for it to reach this level of problem for everybody to come and talk to each other.”

The gangs, says Young, who is a Conscious Youth Development Programme (CYDP) supervisor, have been keeping to their end of the bargain, staying out of trouble and doing the work for which they have been paid.

In fact, he told us, Taylor and Trench Alley have no problem with nearby rival George Street or the other gangs signed to the truce.

What they do have a problem with, he stated, is that the GSU have been “acting senseless…no different from us who they demonize…they need to do their job professionally. If they continue [like this], I’m not saying we are going to do anything to them, but other people might be different from me, see it differently, and certain people don’t exercise their knowledge, so they might deal with it a different way.”

Young added that the police brass “have to acknowledge themselves that the situation that the ‘street guys’are in, by [doing] things like this they are putting themselves in the same category.”

“Retaliation is not in our mind…but they have to know you can’t fight fire with fire, something else, but not that,” Young concluded.

Instead, they have made their formal statements to the police and today to the Ombudsman’s Office, and plan to cooperate with a three-person investigating team appointed by new Minister of National Security, John Saldivar.

Minister of State in that Ministry, Mark King, paid a visit to the area on Friday morning and listened to the residents’ complaints; area representative (Mesopotamia), Michael Finnegan, has been on record as condemning the GSU’s tactics.

The Department itself has made no comment, and we were not able to reach any senior officials at press time.

Another target on Wednesday night who spoke to us today on condition of anonymity told us that the regular police patrols passing through the area since March 21 have continued to attempt to “run off” the residents from the area, and defended the fragile truce, saying that the money they receive helps them tend to their families and is not used for illegal activity.

Amandala


Report: EXCESSIVE FORCE BY GANG SUPPRESSION UNIT

Suppression Unit made by residents of Taylor’s Alley have been submitted, and it does not paint a pretty picture of the GSU. According to a statement from the Ministry of National Security, the investigators appointed by the Minister earlier this month, found that on March twenty first when the GSU descended on Taylor’s Alley, the behavior of the Police Officers was excessive and unjustifiable. The official statement says that while the team is mindful of the fact that there may be occasion for the use of force, they were of the opinion that there is no indication that this was such an occasion.

The evidence is that the Police took the complainants by surprise and they received immediate compliance from the complainants. In view of the findings of the Investigating Team, the Ministry has decided to remove all ground commanders and individuals identified as those that were excessive in their behavior; to provide overall training on law and procedure to all members of specialized units and to carry out a thorough review of the criteria for membership of specialized units will be done.

The official statement says that while action will be taken against the identified perpetrators, the Investigating Team believes that traditional disciplinary action would not yield much success at this time. Furthermore, the Investigating Team has established that some of the stories of the complainants and the witnesses were to some degree embellished.

The Ministry of National Security, based upon the findings of the investigative team, today apologized via the press release on behalf of the Commissioner and members of the Belize Police Department, to the residents of Taylor’s Alley for the excessive behavior of its officers. Members of the investigative team were former Commissioner of Police Hughington Williams, Donelle Hawke and Ian Gray.

LOVEFM


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#434273 - 03/28/12 04:44 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
I'm not sure Arthur is the poster boy for innocent victim, which does not mean the GSU were not out of line, but google Arthur on local news and see his accomplishments, like not getting convicted of his many serious charges.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#434283 - 03/28/12 09:05 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Katie Valk]
Mike Campbell Offline
Katie you have hit the nail on the head. Everything must be aimed at raising conviction rates. Sentencing need to be reviewed, for some reason they are given credit for time served for both the day and the night (as was explained to me) and only serve 1/2 of the sentence 10 years=5 years. What few convictions we get are shortly returned to the streets. When a murder takes 3 years to go to trial what are the chances of getting a conviction? Memories fade, witnesses no longer available, witnesses subverted, evidence misplaced as time passes.
The solution does not lie with limiting civil rights. That is the very thing we are fighting against. The level of crime is interfering with our civil rights and measures that further limit civil rights are counter productive. We must focus on the major factors affecting the conviction rate. Those are Police procedures, prosecutorial issues and the critical need for a speedy trial.
In the meantime get the kids off the streets and into school while we concentrate on making them jobs and a safe environment.

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#436090 - 04/19/12 02:09 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Is the Gang Truce in Jeopardy?

The Gang Suppression Unit has been quiet since a three man Commission determined that they had used excessive and unjustifiable force on Taylor’s Alley residents. The Ministry of National Security apologized but Taylor’s Alley said no thanks. They asked for compensation and that was met by a swift response… NO. So that’s where that is and Minister John Saldivar embarked on a national tour of the police formations.

In the past two weeks, areas of the City have again become a war zone. So is the gang truce holding or is it sustainable? In our weekly poll many believe it is not and that the shootings and murders are the work of gang affiliates. This afternoon, Minister of State Mark King who has responsibility for the Gang Truce says the truce is ongoing, successful and strong. According to King, who was not answering phone calls, there are regular meetings and daily interaction between gang members and himself.

King says in a release that “We have many projects in the pipeline that will involve members of the Gang Truce program and will provide more jobs to these individuals. I maintain that I will work close with these young men and will give them a chance for positive change. Their human rights will be upheld.” King ends his release saying that most if not all of the crimes being committed lately are being done by individuals who are not part of the gang truce programme.

Channel 5


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#436357 - 04/23/12 04:26 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Shelton “Pinky” August and Arthur Young Dead

On Sunday 22nd April, 2012 about 11:15pm information was received that ARTHUR YOUNG, leader of the Taylor’s Alley Gang and who was wanted for the murder of Shelton “Pinky” August, George Street Leader, which occurred on Friday 20th April, 2012 was being harbored at a house owned by Robert MARIANO of a Bonefish Street, Vista Del Mar, Ladyville, Belize District.

An Operation was subsequently launched at the mentioned address and as a result the house appeared abandoned, but shuffling was heard inside as the Police announced their presence. The house was eventually breached and inside of one of the bedrooms, Arthur YOUNG was found inside and attempted to escape, but was apprehended.

Whilst being escorted to the Eastern Police Division in Belize City a struggle ensued between YOUNG and officers inside the pan of the Police vehicle as he attempted to disarm one of the officers. The firearm discharged and resulted in YOUNG sustaining injuries. YOUNG was rushed to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital where he pronounced dead on arrival. Police investigation continues.

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#436360 - 04/23/12 04:45 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Arthur is on video tape shooting Pinky and girlfriend Friday night at the gas station. Two of many other lives he has taken by himself or orders for someone else to do so. He knew after Friday nights killing he only had days left til the gang or police got him. And they did.


Edited by Katie Valk (04/23/12 04:46 PM)
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#436363 - 04/23/12 05:22 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Belizeans’ Safety being Addressed
Belmopan, 23rd April, 2012.

The Ministry of National Security wants to reassure Belizeans that it will continue to work diligently to provide a safe and secure environment to all especially the residents of Belize City in the wake of the recent shooting death of an alleged gang leader Sheldon August Tillett AKA Pinky who was shot and killed on Friday 20th April 2012.

Please be informed also that since Friday although there were several shooting incidents only one other homicide took place in Belize City on Allen Pitts Crescent where Peter Flowers was killed.

The Ministry reiterates that despite rumours, no more than four (4) homicides occurred over the weekend and again reassures the public that it is putting measures in place to ensure the safety of the Belizean public.

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#436364 - 04/23/12 05:25 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Lots of discussion on Patrick Jones' Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pjonesbz

under the LOVE TV thread... "Arthur Young killed … details shortly"

Press conference starting now...

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#436365 - 04/23/12 05:26 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
Is there a live link we can listen to Marty?

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#436368 - 04/23/12 05:34 PM Re: Barrow’s fragile gang truce in jeopardy? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
yeah its on now here:
http://www.belizeweb.com/love.ram

you might have to download the real audio player first
http://www.real.com/

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