Head of GSU and Police Special Branch Marco Vidal (above)
In a highly televised press conference held by the leader of the nation and his Government on January 8th, 2013, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held absolutely no reservation in telling the nation that he personally met with the leaders of the George Street gangs at his cabinet office in Belmopan yesterday. In his press conference the PM stated Government of Belize has no motive and no opinion leading to any suspects but that there may have been a window of opportunity by the underworld to have committed this terrible act of violence. He was referring to Monday night’s quadruple murder in the city. Eventhough, the George Street gang hierarchy blames the GSU for being directly responsible for the quadruple homicide, PM says the accusations are utterly unfounded and constitutes a very serious allegation of the integrity of the government but blames the underworld.
Of note is that GSU has come under fire in the past for having used excessive force in executing its duties.
Head of the Gang Suppression Unit Marco Vidal categorically refutes accusations of GSU’s involvement and says not true. According to Vidal allegations are totally unfounded and baseless. The GSU has a mandate to target gangs, and that is what they have been doing in Belize City, through its intelligence. Any actions beyond that would distabilize the country and that is not its mandate.
If the GS gangsters are certain that no rival gangs were involved then who did it? Today, marks nine days into the new year and 8 body counts of senseless murders. We have seen in the past press conferences after press conferences and the statistics for homicides keep increasing from 129 in 2011, 142 in 2012 and have so far close to one per day counting for the new year.
The volatile situation in Belize City has had a direct negative economic impact in the entire country of Belize, particularly businesses in the city that were compelled to shutdown as a result of the uncertainties and the US Embassy which sent out its own precautionary notice. This will certainly have a ripple effect in the entire country especially not being able to know where these gang leaders are now hiding outside of the city.
As for Belize’s future, it will certainly be far more difficult for the average business to stay afloat especially with current economic trends here. Economic times were already tough and the cost to do business extremely high.
At least at this online news, we believe that more security bodies and booths on the streets may not necessarily be the answer since this has been tried in the past with much added cost to the state but with very little results. There has to be a sustainable way. The state must look at the way other districts have handled their crime crisis situations and take it as an example and invest in those sustainable initiatives. Let us stop negotiating and rewarding criminals.
On this note of the Minister of Housing having facilitated gangsters to meet with the Prime Minister at his cabinet office, we ask that he facilitate the same gestures to those that have always been trying and begging to personally meet with him as the way forward as to the financial affairs of Belize. We ask the Belize Chamber of Commerce, social partners, churches and all stake holders in the business community to immediately request a meeting with the Prime Minister as to this New Year’s plans and resolutions on Belize’s way forward in changing our business environment and business attitude. If at the flick of a finger he can meet with gangsters at his cabinet office then let’s assure ourselves that he will engage those same positive gestures and energies to those in the private sector that are charged and responsible to grow this economy.
Creating jobs and placing marginalized youths in the city is a sustainable way of reversing the current crime trend. I am not suggesting rewarding gangsters at all but to continue to open the window of opportunity to create an environment conducive to business and job opportunities all over the country. Let’s give them shovels, not guns.
Belize, we as parents have failed our children, we as husbands have failed our wives and vice versa, we as parents have failed our families, we as churches have failed our brothers and sisters, we as politicians and leaders have failed our nation and we as media have sensationalized crime. The blame is on all of us and certainly successive governments of both political divides have fleeced the public purses over the past 30 years. This is why we are in the mess we are today folks.
We have become tolerant of the homeless persons who sleep day in and day out in-front of our police stations and we all just put a blind eye to these issues. We care less for the destitute but reward the gangsters. Belize this is a sign, a sign to get back to the basics and start paying attention to the human element of our people and investing in them.
We have become tolerant of people urinating in the paths of our children; we have become tolerant of uncontrollable noises; we have become tolerant of garbage all over our streets and highways; we have become tolerant of people defecating in our children’s paths; we have become tolerant of public drunkenness. No one wants to talk about these issues but they are true and real folks. Do we want to be known as the mad, bad, dirty society?
The purpose of this article is not to sensationalize the crime situation in Belize City because we have been inundated by those news for the past couple of years and frankly we are tired of it but rather to give attention to those stakeholders to step up and take charge of our economic future.
If nothing changes then expect that nothing will change. Belize Wake Up!
Are we going to continue to hold records for falling into the cracks of being the worse in all aspects of our society?
Do sensationalized reports of violent crime encourage people to create more crime?
Courtesy: Corozal Daily (…Sometimes)