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Mar 20, 2018

P.U.P. Wants Southside as “Special Development Zone”

John Briceño

The People’s United Party this afternoon addressed the state of affairs in Belize City in relation to crime. Party Leader John Briceño and Deputy Cordel Hyde lamented the weekend’s developments and seriously questioned the Government’s commitment to addressing crime’s root causes. They pointed out that the consolidation of the Ministry of National Security seemed a reward for a man, John Saldivar, who did not earn it. According to Briceño, the Prime Minister’s solution of boots on the ground, a war-like mentality and trying to win hearts and minds will not nearly be enough. In addition to firing Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, working out a bipartisan approach through a specially appointed Commission and pouring resources into investigation of crimes, the Southside, he said, must be approached through the lens of human development.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Ladies and gentlemen, on Sunday, the Prime Minister had shown to this nation that his Government is bankrupt of ideas, and all that he is concerned [with] is trying to contain the internal political dissent within the U.D.P. This is what the Prime Minister offered to us on Sunday: one, combining the security forces in one Ministry, the Ministry of National Security; two, rewarding John Saldivar as the Minister of National Security – the same Minister under [whose] watch we’ve had the most murders in one year; the same Minister who was removed from that post because there was a cloud of suspicion, a suspicion that exists to this day. And three, the Prime Minister is now turning to the Queen’s representative, the Governor General, asking him to suspend civil liberties of Belizeans in certain areas of Southside Belize City – civil liberties such as freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary search, arbitrary detention, and even what we call “preventative detention” – citing his words – which has been ruled unconstitutional. And fourthly, he made no mention that he will be moving around resources in the new budget that is going to be presented to the House, that will be debated on Thursday and Friday, that will strengthen the Police Department, strengthen the investigative branch, and strengthen the D.P.P.’s office. The People’s United Party proposes that instead of treating the Southside of Belize City like a war zone, and declaring a state of emergency, the Government should declare the Southside of Belize City a special development zone, where financial and human capital will immediately be made available to transform the lives and the environment of the citizens. Education and skills training for all young people and at-risk youths must be provided. D.F.C. loans for small businesses, tax exemptions and duty-free all productive equipment and materials should be allowed.”

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