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Mar 27, 2018

Meeting on Masculinity and Male Violence

Why are men at the center of violence and crime in Belize? A two-day conference to understand what is behind this growing trend was held in Belmopan. Organized by the University of Belize, the United Nations Development Programme, InfoSegura, and other agencies, a number of leaders of local organizations dissected the national issue on Monday and Tuesday. Following the conference, a policy paper will be drawn up with recommendations that look at the root causes and recommendations going forward reduce male led violence. Andrea Polanco has more from the conference.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Men commit the majority of violent crime. Research connecting men and violence have attempted to explain this by measuring masculinity and to study its relationship to violence. Looking at the number of men who commit crime and who are the victims of crime show that over the years men are still the biggest perpetrators and victims of crime.

 

George Lovell

George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“So far, we have had forty-murders of which we have twenty-one males being involved in those forty murders. I say twenty-one murders because it is difficult for us to put a name to some of the ones that occur. But the ones that we know, there are twenty-one. That is for 2018. In 2015, in terms of the murders, we had a total one hundred and six males that were involved with murders and thirteen females. In 2016, we had one hundred and twenty-three males and fifteen females. In 2017, it was one hundred and thirty-one males and eleven females. In terms of the gang related, and this is just updates, in 2016 we have thirty-six males that were victims of gang related murders and they were an average age of twenty-seven. In 2017, we had forty-six males that were victims of gang related murders.”

 

Yet, the majority of Belizean men do not commit violent crime. But Belize City, where gang-related killings are concentrated, continues to be one of the most dangerous and murderous cities the world. And to understand this better, researchers and organizations are hosting a conference to understand how and why men are at the center of crime and violence in Belize City.

 

Adam Baird

Dr. Adam Baird, Coventry University

“Assessing the state of men and masculinities and the role that plays in gang violence in Belize City and unfortunately, as we have seen in recent years, Belize City is one of the most violent cities in the Caribbean and also in the world. Unfortunately, it is consistently overlooked by international scholars. So, what we are trying to do here is that we are trying to shine a light on gang violence in Belize City itself; bringing in international scholarships and supporting local academics in Belize and also the state institutions and police force working on these issues, to try and chart pathways forward to solutions to these problems.”

 

President of UB Clement Sankat says that in order to reduce crime and violence, we must find what is at the root of the culture of male perpetrated violence in Belize. He says more must be done support boys and men in society.


Clement Sankat

Clement Sankat, President, UB

“While we are witnessing and participating in the outrage and condemnation of the violence that is occurring in our societies, as university researchers and scholars, we need to understand what are the underlying issues. We can protest and express abhorrence and all of that is right. The question is how do you fix the problem? While we have focused a lot on advancing the cause of women and I support and salute that, what about our young males? When you look at universities today in the Caribbean, in fact, worldwide, the enrolment of males in the university keeps dropping. More than sixty-percent of the enrolment at the UB is females, and I salute that. But there must be another consequence of that. What about the males?”

 

After the conference, one-pager policy document will be drafted. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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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