RESTORE BELIZE UPDATES ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER THE PAST YEAR
It has been around for one year now, designed to, as its name implies, restore Belize to a better quality of life, with generally fewer crime and a better societal image. Today the initiative commissioned by the government, presented a strategic plan for the next five years. Its Director, Mary Vasquez, told the media during a breakfast session today what the scope of the plan entails.
Mary Vasquez – Director, Restore Belize
“It’s really a comprehensive approach that all actors including the media would need to focus on to address the root causes of crime and violence. Every country that is facing high murder rates would wish that there is a magic wand. There are countries much richer than ours, with much greater population and human resources than ours that have not been able to eradicate murder from their society so I would say the magic wand would have been ideal, it was never a realistic expectation and we certainly never sought to create that expectation but naturally people feel a sense of crisis so people want an immediate solution. The truth is there is not anywhere in the world an immediate solution to something that is as deep and wide as the problem of gang violence and the problem of crime in the society. We work very strongly with the Yabra Community Policing Center, we work very strongly with the schools in the specific areas where we have interventions so it is not as if we put ourselves as a new entity there, we put ourselves out there as part of a society that is coming in. To be honest we have faced the problem where there is a lack of confidence in the Government and there is a lack of confidence that there can be solution. We are told be people we can’t fix it, we are told by people, you are really trying but you will not make any headway, this is something that we hear all the times. We have conviction (a) that this can be done because it has been done elsewhere in situations that were worse but it was never done just by the government or just by the Police Department it always has to be done with a community effort, with full community mobilization.”
Vasquez says that the private sector has received the initiative with zeal so far and that some have even offered to assist with more than the requests have been.