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Apr 1, 2016

What are Belizeans Saying About a Proposed Curfew?

The implementation of an unofficial curfew in south side Belize City is not sitting well in many sectors. Two weeks ago, in the wake of at least three murders allegedly committed at the hands of minors, Eastern Division South Regional Commander Chester Williams announced the implementation of the curfew where minors found on the streets after nine p.m., would be picked up and taken to the police station.  While some believe that the law does not support the curfew for children, several organizations involved with children rights, including UNICEF, have expressed concerns over the program. Since then, ACP Williams has been meetings with representatives from Human Development, RESTORE Belize and the Truancy Unit of the Ministry of Education. On social media, there has been overwhelming support for the program and today, we took to the streets to poll residents on the issue.

 

Resident #1

“I support him very good. Why? Because of all those children going to the shop to buy the crack and thing; go to the neighborhoods and the yards. I see them for myself; how they go and buy the weed.”

 

Duane Moody

“Who do you think is responsible though?”

 

Resident #1

“Well we know that’s why…parents, but parents sometimes busy working. The young parents nowadays have to work to mind them cause it is more than one kids they have and the dads are not around. Tell me about it. They make the kids but they don’t want to mind the kids them.”

 

Duane Moody

“But they are saying that it is against their rights to lock up kids.”

 

Resident #1

“No, not against their rights. Once you have a JP; I say like if you have a JP at the place where they will keep the kids at the police station, then you will see a good job.”

 

Duane Moody

“Do you support the idea of a curfew to address the issue of crime that for some time now has been perpetrated by minors?”

 

Resident #2

“I would not say I fully support it, but it is something that we look at for security reasons to ensure that children are safe and to prevent them from engaging in crime. But on a holistic point of view, to look at it, it is something that we need to table together for more than one stakeholder to see what is the best resolution than tackling it as a matter of fact using it from the perspective that it will deter or solve crime. Because no matter what you do, curfew has been used in the past before and it has not proved significantly effective. It only last for a while and then after that it goes out. So you have to look at the longevity of the curfew; how effective it will be. But we have to look at the core matters and as a society I think that we all know that that goes all the way back into the homes, the family structure, our education system and the values which we are imparting on to our young people. Furthermore, we have the child friendly municipalities programs and different things that have come on board so it’s to have the police department along with these other N.G.O.s and stakeholders come together and use all the other initiatives we have on the table and put them into something that would be productive and help deter crime. As opposed to a curfew which is to say this is to stop crime because it will have more of a negative effect in my view than positive.”

 

Duane Moody

“Would you say that it infringes on the rights of children?”

 

Resident #2

“To a certain extent, it does and, like I said, it is something that you’d need to look at technically because there are lots of things involved and you don’t want anything to overlap or “step on anyone’s toes”—for a lack of better term. You want to address it in a manner that you are not trying to tug and war, but we are trying to walk side by side as we are trying to solve this issue to make the city more friendly.”

 

Resident #3

“I believe that curfew should be set for minors. When I was a minor, by six o’clock I deh ina mi house. When street light come on, dah time fi yo deh ina yo house. I believe no parent should have any thirteen, fourteen year old out on the street around that time because as mentioned, dah minors di do the crime now—dah the younger ones. Keep them ina the house; study, read a book…after-school program, but keep them off of the street. So the curfew dah wah very good idea.”

 

Duane Moody

“So do you think that it infringes on children’s rights given the fact that you cannot detain a kid?”

 

Resident #3

“Well a child has a right to speak, but detaining a child….at least inform the parent that I’m detaining a child; come for your child or we’ll keep your child. Advise the parents that we found your child on the street, we have your child; you either come for him or her or we keep them overnight.”

 

Resident #4

“Sometimes di kids dehn go out go buy and children will be children. Dehn go out go buy, dehn pikney wah di play even before dehn go dah the shop go buy. So if the police pick them up and thing that wrong. So weh you di try tell? Pikney noh have rights? Dehn noh even wah ask dehn question or nothing like that?”

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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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3 Responses for “What are Belizeans Saying About a Proposed Curfew?”

  1. Kriol Chicken says:

    If people can’t stop killing each other, then a curfew is a reasonable measure.

  2. madperson says:

    I strongly support curfew. What in the world should underage pikney be doing in the streets late at night.

  3. Gerald underwood says:

    Since kids have right leave them alone to roam the street any hours they want too and when one of them kill your family you should also have the right to end the existence of there mother or father or maybe one of these moron that oppose curfew

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