I did not want to say these things on a forum as public as this bulletin board (I didn't want to frighten tourists) so I tried to discuss these issues at the Caye Caulker Neighborhood Watch Program Limited meeting on October 22. Unfortunately the CCNWPL had no interest in hearing what I or anyone else had to say. The CCNWPL executive board had its own agenda.
In my opinion the CCNWPL's agenda is terrible because: 1) It will not stop crime, 2) It is far more of an anti-Police program than a Crime Stopping program, 3) It plans to charge CC a huge amount of money for a ridiculous hi-tech program that tracks the Police, NOT the crooks, 4) It will divide the people of CC instead of uniting them, 5) It is an insult to the murder of Lorleen Young. It ignores the circumstances of her murder and instead of considering the apprehension of her killer their highest priority, they sit back and wait for some rich guy's $!0,000 reward to catch the killer for them. To the executive members of the CCNWPL I ask this question: "If it were your wife who had been murdered would you sit back and hope that some rich guy's $10,000 reward would catch her killer for you or would you do everything in your power to catch the murdering scum bag and bring him to justice?" For all we know, the person who murdered Lorleen Young is still on Caye Caulker. How safe does that make you feel?
Before Lorleen Young had even been buried people were asking the insensitive but practical question, "How will her murder affect Tourism on Caye Caulker?" So I will ask you: If you were a Tourist which of these two options would you prefer?
Option One: Caye Caulker responds to the murder of a beloved resident by firing their entire Police Force, putting monitoring devices on the cops (NOT the crooks) and hoping a $10,000 reward will catch Mrs. Young's killer (who for all we know may still be on Caye Caulker) for them.
Or Option Two: Caye Caulker responds to the murder of Lorleen Young by DOUBLING both its Police Force and the number of lights on the streets, by using civilian volunteers to assist the Police, by making every effort to encourage residents to freely walk their own streets, by giving residents a clear cut set of Guidelines on how to protect themselves and others and to make it clear to ALL of CC's residents that we either survive together or let ourselves be victimized one at a time. CC appoints a Civilian Review Board to monitor the Police. CC issues a set of Guidelines for the Police so there is no mistaking proper Police behavior from unacceptable behavior. CC rewards its best Police and penalizes or fires its bad cops, not collectively but according to each individual's work and sense of commitment. CC invites the police to all public meetings. CC invites the Police to form their own Review Board where they can criticize civilian behavior and TEACH US how to prevent or respond to crime. But one priority stands above all others: We petition any authority in Belize to do everything in its power to help us apprehend Lorleen Young's killer.
We, the people of Caye Caulker, make it clear that we have so much respect for each other that we bend over backward to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or economic status to work together as equals. We oppose anything that divides us, including a police force that treats Residents differently than Tourists. Belize prides itself on doing whatever is necessary to protect every living thing within its boundaries. After my first full Off-Season in CC, I would say the most Endangered Species on Caye Caulker are its residents. The Tourism Board and Business Owners must acknowledge the fact that nothing will kill CC quicker than "Unsustainable Tourism." Tourists will feel safe on CC when its residents feel safe. We either survive as a community or we are taken down one at a time.
Although I do not love the backdoor tactics of the CCNWPL or their bizarre Crime Busting strategy, I think they are brilliant organizers. But if they do not make a commitment to act on behalf of ALL the people on CC, they should fire themselves.
A Word to Business Owners who intend to donate money to the CCNWP's ridiculous "Police Tracking Device"-Have you seen one bit of evidence that putting GPS Tracking Devices on the cops stops or cuts down Crime? Why would people smart enough to run a successful business be gullible enough to pay for that expensive, useless Monitoring Device?
A Small Gesture I would love to see: I would love to see the CCNWPL take up a collection to provide new uniforms for the "Black Neighborhood" basketball team. I would like to see the CC Police Force make a contribution to the uniforms. (I will donate the first $50 to the collection.)