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Feb 4, 2016

Mahogany Heights Residents Collaborating With Police for Change

Today, officers from the Rural Eastern Division were in the community of Mahogany Heights, located in La Democracia. They were joined by members of the Community Oriented Policing Program because the intention is to form a real and lasting bond between the residents of Mahogany Heights and the department mandated to serve and protect them. The community has been plagued with crime and the residents have had enough. This afternoon, we travelled to the small settlement where it is hoped that a meaningful collaboration between stakeholders will make all the difference. Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon Reporting

The last time we visited Mahogany Heights, a small community off the George Price Highway it was to cover a murder. The time we visited before that…another murder! The dry, dusty village seems to have been forgotten for the most part, many homes hidden behind high bush, not much happening. But there is a push for a change and it’s coming from the residents themselves.

 

Roland Usher

Roland Usher, Community Activist

“Everywhere you goh you hear lone bad things bout Mahogany Heights. We dah dih bad village right now. Soh we deh try bring it back, bring back dih love eena dih community and try bring everybody back out fuy mek dih village noh have da bad name again.”

 

Gilbert Robateau, Community Activist

“I think weh we need dah energy. We need energy, we need love, we need more unity.”

 

The challenges to that love and unity are very real. But so is the determination to change things. The Police were out there today talking to residents to chart a way forward.

 

Rochelle Chan

Insp. Rochelle Chan, Commander, Hattieville Formation

“We are targeting youth at risk here in Mahogany Heights, and also members of different groups and trying to see how we can get them to have some peace talks and at the same time coordinate programs in relation to sports.”

 

To get things rolling, members of the Community Oriented Policing Program cleaned out this parcel near the Police Station. They want the residents to have full access to the land, not only for sporting activities, but for agriculture as well.

 

Raquel Vega

Raquel Vega, Chairlady, Mahogany Heights

“Some of the challenges are that we had a couple of murders in the village, thefts, burglaries, different things we have faced in the community for the past two years, but now working with the Hattieville Police Department and myself, the Council…we are trying to bring these people together and make a change in our community. We’re starting it with a community project and sports. We’ve found out that sports is one of the things that bring all the groups together.”

 

Insp. Rochelle Chan

“We are here so that we can show the community that we want to work along with them and have them work along with us. In relation to developing the programs we have neighborhood watches here….now we are trying to get sports and farming and education programs here.”

 

The situation is dire. When we said the community has been forgotten, that’s no joke.

 

Gilbert Robateau

“We have over two thousand people live here in the village and most of that is kids…no park, no activities, no library, no nothing…soh like how dey man come, do dey lee survey and seh they willing fu help we willing fu ride with the program with dey.”

 

Raquel Vega

“Most of them don’t work. Some of them go around and ‘ketch and kill’ around different places but there’s not a lot around here to do. So we now have to come together and sit and find out how we can create the jobs. So we’re trying to team up with agriculture and different organizations to see how we can come together and create jobs for these young men.”

 

Gilbert Robateau

The youths and residents gathered here today are determined to make this work. So are the Police. The frustration with the malaise which has gripped this community is palpable.

 

Roland Usher

“The youths them weh I got their names down, they dah the youths weh we di try work with weh want change. The ones deh weh noh want change, we noh wah deal with them; the police wah deal with them.”

 

Gilbert Robateau

“We can’t say weh noh wah change. They dah di focus too. We have to help them; that dah weh we di come in for.”

 

Roland Usher

“Yo could ker the horse dah di well, but yo can’t make dah horse drink dah water bredda. So if yon oh deh onboard, then the police have to deal with yo. We want better fi we community, we want uplift fi we community. We wah better ina fi we life so if you noh deh onboard with we, we wah just make di man dehn deal with unu straight.”

 

Today is just the start of the intervention. The Police, through the Community Oriented Policing Program, plan to make this relationship a lasting one. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Mahogany Heights Residents Collaborating With Police for Change”

  1. BelizeanInAsia says:

    Sports is one thing but when there is no job and no food who wants to play sports? These people need a lot of help. They need other programs and jobs. They need to eat. They need skills to get jobs and then to work and eat. I hope and pray that the government will help them all the way not just part of the way and not just halfway. That is the problem in Belize.

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