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Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

After experiencing the heinous crimes of carnage as explained by PM Barrow at his press conference on Sunday March 19, 2018 at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Belizeans are left shaken. What happened can only be labelled as an act of terrorism. The Government of Belize must seriously consider classifying gangs and gang violence as terrorist activity. The Laws must be amended to reflect this with the requisite adequate punishment/sentence.

While most Belizeans viewed this situation with grave concern, there is this one individual, a former Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs who seems to have taken delight in what is happening. That individual trolled the PM throughout the entire press conference. That individual all of a sudden became the brightest chandelier in Belize, having all the solutions and answers to the problem. Imagine this being the very person in the capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs who could not remove a simple container encroaching on our border. Unconfirmed reports have it that this individual’s claim to fame is the bringing under scrutiny of Belize’s reputation over an unwarranted quarrel for parking space in New York.

Social Media observers have been wondering from whence came this sudden stroke of brilliance, for certainly when the PUP was struggling with crime between the period of 2002 to 2008 it was not visible. To support this position this column has enlisted the help of Channel 7 News and borrowed the following extracts. The below extracts clearly shows a frustrated Said Musa reaching out for help in fighting crime and THE National Chandelier was nowhere to be found.

Posted June 12, 2006

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize

“It is difficult to find the words to describe the shock and shame of many Belizeans as a result of several particularly violent murders and sexual crimes that have occurred since the start of this year. These sensational crimes have been accompanied by a high profile string of holdups let by Guatemalan bandits targeting our tourism industry in the Cayo District. Understandably, while the overall level of crimes in our country may not have increased during this period, the nature of these particular crimes, signal crimes as criminologists would call them, have been so gruesome, so utterly repugnant, that the Belizean public risks becoming unnerved, WE RISK LOSING OUR WILL TO BATTLE CRIMES AND CRIMINALS.

Frankly it’s impossible to offer reason to certain level of violence and perversions. For example who can explain the gangland murder of the Brannon brothers in front of their home reportedly over a necklace. How can human beings chop, maim, and then ritually burn a young family of three in their home. How can a stepfather sexually assault his underage daughter allegedly in broad daylight on a usually busy street in Belize City. Or how can a couple collude, allegedly, to rape an underaged neighbor. THESE ARE NOT CRIMES PREVENTABLE BY ANY POLICE DEPARTMENT, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. THESE ARE ARBITRARY CRIMES BORN OF INHUMAN DISRESPECT FOR LIFE.

The Y-Focus Group that led the march against crime in Belize City last Friday reflects the frustration of the vast majority of the Belizean people who are fatigued and worried about their own safety and numbed from the sensational news reports of these signal crimes, each one seemingly more brutal, more heinous, than the last.”

“The investments that our government has made in the crime war have been unprecedented in financial and human resources. The annual budget for law enforcement has increased from $14.8 million in 1998 to $33.2 million today. I cite a sampling of this list of investment and initiatives not to deflect blame, but to reaffirm my government’s recognition of the crime problem.”

“Just as we do not seek today to shirk our government’s role in fighting crime, so too must all segments of society recognize the contribution that they must make to a safer, more peaceful Belize. These partners in fighting crime must include parents, educators, priests and pastors, businessmen and women, neighbors and potential witnesses. We must also ask ourselves which convicted criminal or accused criminal is without parents. Which ones did not have teachers or were not part of a church congregation at some point in his or her life. How many did not work in organizations and alongside other employees. We have to be honest with ourselves and admit that over the years, as adults, we have been failing in our duty to promote a standard of behavior on the next generation. Discipline has been sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and a moral relativism that denies our traditional sense of right or wrong.”

“Television has profoundly affected our lives. Many families spend more time watching TV than talking to each other. The glamorization of violence on our TV screens seems to have no limits. We are bombarded on the airwaves by preachers of hate and music with anti-women lyrics with females routinely described as bitches and whores. There is no moral outrage about all that is disrespectful, indecent, irreverent, and offensive.”

“This government has a proud record of freeing the airwaves. Our media policy has allowed diversity of views to flourish. Freedom of expression is fully protected as a constitutional right. But when this freedom is being systematically abused and exploited to instill hate, violence, and deviant behavior, it is time for the Belizean Broadcasting Authority to act. This is a call for action.”

June 2, 2006

Jules Vasquez,

At what point does this become the fault of the Minister of Home Affairs (Ralph Fonseca) and his ineptitude or inability to inspire people or to come up with a strategy to contain this?

Rt. Hon. Said Musa,

“I don’t think you can say it is the fault of anyone. We are dealing with a phenomenon of rising crime, whether it be through the trans-border problem that they are having with armed Guatemalan soldiers who have been de-marked, taken out or retired from the military, I think that is a large of part of the problem, or whether it be these deportees who are being sent back into our countries. We are dealing with a serious problem of rising criminal activity and certainly it affects the tourism industry. That is one major aspect that we have to address seriously but it’s a national problem, it’s not just how it affects the tourists. It’s a big problem in terms of ensuring it does not destroy our tourist industry. But we have been working on it, the police have been getting, and to my mind, and to the Commissioner and all the Police Department people are doing a very commendable job and we must continue to support them.”

August 1, 2002

Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize

The issue of crime and violence is undoubtedly the single most pressing concern in Belize today. It is incredible that crime and violence is even more of concern than Guatemala - that’s saying a lot. Much has been said across the length and breadth of the nation about the root causes of crime and the measures that have been taken and the further measures that need to be taken to stem this raging tide that is sweeping our region and indeed our world. Crime and violent crimes in particular strike at the very heart of our society. It is a direct threat to our democracy, our national well-being and our way of life. It must be defeated and it must be confronted as a family issue, a neighborhood issue, a community issue, and a national security issue. Let’s face it.

In closing, one finds it difficult that the bulk of this violence is occurring in the Lake Independence Constituency where there seems to be a well loved representative in Cordel Hyde. In the March 7th Municipal Elections, Hyde was successful in garnering a three to one margin in popular votes. It is therefore difficult to comprehend why Hyde has not reached out to his constituents to stop the black on black executions. Is it that he has no love for his people or that he is comfortable with the current situation as long as he can gain political mileage from it?