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Sep 14, 2018

Patrick Faber: “Drastic Time Calls for Drastic Measures”

The proclamation on a “State of Public Emergency” on two south side neighbourhoods in Belize City has been met with criticism from various quarters on the basis that it violates the human rights of persons living in these areas. The measure was approved by Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber on September fourth as a reaction to a bloody weekend in which six persons were killed on south side Belize City. As many as forty persons, believed to be gang members from the George Street and Mayflower/Banak areas, are in lock down at the Central Prison for the remainder of the month.  Today, Faber told News Five that it was a case of “drastic time calls for drastic measures.”

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Acting Prime Minister

“It was not done without consultation from the people. We have heard the outcries of the citizenry, especially here in Belize City where as you know I am a Belize City representative, and there have been many, many suggestions in line of that. In fact, you know that some time ago, there were measures that Prime Minister Barrow tried to put in having to do with preventative detention and we heard people loud and clear. It was a different climate, it was a different time and I think the rate of murders have since then gone up tremendously and there were many people who said we need that kind of measure, although it is not the same thing. And to tell you the facts, the truth is that the measures that have been put in place to declare those zones in an emergency state did not just come while I was acting Prime Minister. You would remember in March when we had another terrible spate of murders, that decision was announced. All that happened; the government was full of restraint and in fact did not move to declare the particular zones. And after a little while when things calmed down we thought that we’d just hold off until things flared up and we saw the absolute need to do it and last weekend was in fact that opportunity where we thought that it was absolutely necessary. And by and large, I think what it happening now, in terms of the lack of the murders now—at least those that are connected with the gangs and with the drugs and all of that—very minimal now compared to what we would have had if that measure was not in place. I believe that that is a positive measure on the part of the government. There are many people in the society who are saying that as well. I understand all of those who are complaining about it being against human rights and all of that, but when the entire society is being held ransom by just a few, then I think drastic times does indeed call for drastic measures.”

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