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Truce! A long lasting solution to violence in Belize City being worked on Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00

Edward Broaster, Hon. Dean Barrow and Hon. Patrick Faber after meeting with gang leadersA truce that was brokered between warring gangs in Belize City on New Year’s Eve will continue following discussion held on Wednesday afternoon between the Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow, Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of National Security Hon. Carlos Perdomo along with CYDP Director Edward Broaster and gang leaders from Kraal Road, George Street, South Side Gangsters, Supaul Street, and Martins.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Barrow explained that the purpose of the meeting

was to try to maintain the peace that was generated during the original meeting of New Year’s Eve. He explained that CYDP Director Edward Broaster had asked that the Prime Minister meet with the gang leaders after they, themselves, wanted to hear from the leader of the country. During the meeting, PM Barrow appealed to those present that the peace be maintained and in turn government would step up intervention efforts. Those include efforts geared at social assistance and the possibility of long term solutions including the provision of opportunities for employment as well as to assist individuals in their personal business projects which some of the gang members have indicated that they had. Prime Minister Barrow expressed, however, that a show of good faith must be required from the government and the gang’s sides. He said “that we needed to see a sustained keeping of the peace and they would need to see of course that we are serious about the promise regarding the social and financial interventions that clearly will need to take place.”

The Prime Minister continued to explain that it was important for him to attend personally to indicate the degree of importance that government is placing to what is taking place. These first meetings he says is part of the greater effort to create a system that can provide for a formal maintaining of the peace. He added that, “I think it extremely important that I show to them and the society at large that government is engaged at the highest level. This is perhaps the number one problem we are facing as a society certainly in terms of Belize City, so in that context I think it was very important that I come.” 

When asked why the necessity to have the meeting with the gang leaders, the Prime Minister indicated that the police’s tough approach has not worked. He continued to explain that there is no expectation that the tough approach be the only one taken to deal with the crime situation. He, however, did say that while the truce is maintained, the police’s tactics are a responsive one which will not be pursued so long as there is peace. PM Barrow noted that nobody will be ceding the responsibility that the state has to protect the citizenry. He adds that if for now the dialogue can help to hold down the violence then no one can be against it.