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Mar 10, 2016

Eastern Division North Cleans Up the Community

Today, key members of the Eastern Division put down their guns and batons, picked up paintbrushes and weed-whackers and got to work. It’s a cleanup timed to coincide with Women’s Month, but in reality it’s a part of an ongoing and intensive community policing effort which seems to be reaping tremendous dividends. The Police is teaming up with the Belize City Council on a beautification campaign designed for aesthetics but also for utility and certainly for interaction with residents. This morning, News Five’s Mike Rudon joined Police and community members at a park with special significance on North Front Street, and things were looking bright. Here’s that story.  

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

On Independence Day 2011 nine year old Joshua Abraham was shot and killed as he stood in front of his home on Victoria Street. He was the casualty of a gang war raging in the city at that time. This small park was dedicated to his memory, and this morning the community and Police Officers worked together to breathe life into the small area which has been allowed to deteriorate.

 

Dezerie Phillips

ACP Dezerie Phillips, Regional Commander, Eastern Division North

“A few months ago we decided that it’s good for us to come as a community to refurbish the park because as you can see here a lot of damage has been done to it and we want to bring back some life to it. Why we decided to do it now is in celebration of Women’s Month we have planned a number of activities and so this is what we included as a part of Women’s Month celebrations. We ensure that everything that we do is in the community spirit, the community policing spirit and so we get the community involved. As I was mentioning earlier to a gentleman, all the community really needs is somebody to come forward and come up with ideas and initiatives and they are always willing to come on board and support us. What is important as well is to have the community be a part of what we are doing. We want them to take ownership of this initiative. The park is for them. It’s for the community. It’s for the kids. And one of the things that we are promoting is creating safer communities through our partnership.”

 

Spirits were high this morning as coats of paint in bright colors were applied to benches and fence while the overgrown grass was neatly cut down. Sadly though, we’ve seen these initiatives before, and we’ve also seen them destroyed by the very same members of the community who benefit.

 

ACP Dezerie Phillips

“That is one of the reasons why we took some time. Like I said this came about some months ago. We saw the need that the park needed to be refurbished but it took some time for us to get where we are today because we wanted to ensure that we have community partnership and like I said community ownership is important. The people in these communities need to understand that what is being down is for them and the betterment of their children, so they and their children need to take responsibility to ensure that these parks are kept and maintained where children can come in and play and families can have the use of it.”

 

Through collaboration with the Belize City Council and hopefully other generous organizations, the Police don’t plan to stop at just sprucing up the park a bit.

 

ACP Dezerie Phillips

“This is just the beginning of a wider plan. There are some discussions for us to get some swings and other amenities here for the kids to recreate. We also want to have some sports days, some family days in here that we could have the whole community come out and participate. But definitely getting some swings in here…as you can see there are frames for the kids, but with time everything just went down.”

 

On the other side of North Front Street, Police Officers and members of the community around Majestic Alley were also busy beautifying this building next to City Hall. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s community policing at its best, and it’s working. 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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