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Sep 5, 2011

Gangs meet with P.M. and commit to a truce

Prime Minister Dean Barrow rushed back to Belize last Friday to meet with gang leaders. They agreed to hold the peace until after the September celebrations; the carnival road march went without incident. Friday’s meeting was followed by another at the ITVET on Sunday where all Belize City gangs sat around the table with the Prime Minister, Minister of Police Doug Singh, Anthropologist D. Herbert Gayle and others on behalf of the government. The gangs agreed to a truce and a coordinating committee was formed to monitor the progress. But how fragile is that truce?  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The seemingly relentless waves of gang related homicides gripping the streets of the Old Capital since the turn of the century have arguably contributed more to the country’s annual mortality rate over the last five years than all traffic fatalities combined.  Despite successive governments fruitlessly attempting to address the problem the number of casualties to crime and violence has only snowballed with time.  It has been three and a half years since the Barrow Administration assumed office and the problem has proven to be more than just a thorn in its side.  An effort to bring together rival factions within Belize City’s underworld is the latest endeavor to call a ceasefire.

Doug Singh

Doug Singh, Minister of Police

“The agreement is that there’s a commitment on the part of both sides, and I’m saying both sides even though it involves different groups in each side, to actually hold it down.  Essentially to start a process to work together that includes several stages.  It includes mitigating, reconciliation, there were suggestions made by one side that perhaps we need to have a forum where they can all get together and start to socialize together to help to develop a relationship.”

That relationship between enemy gangs have, for quite some time, been non-existent.  As it currently stands there have been ninety-five homicides since the start of the year, much of which can be attributed to the ongoing turf wars.  On Friday a meeting was convened by P.M. Barrow with members of various groups, including the dominant George Street Gang, to establish a peaceful co-existence going forward.

Dean Barrow [File: September 2, 2011]

“The idea is to try and forge some kind of a truce and that was made clear to both sides, both sides expressed that willingness to talk about exactly that objective.  Whether we will actually be successful coming out of that meeting on Sunday is another matter, but given where we are, it is certainly worth the effort and I certainly am absolutely committed to investing my time in the process to try and achieve the outcome that we all desire.”

Dean Barrow

According to Minister of Police, Douglas Singh, the principal gangs, those being George Street and the South Side Gangsters, have taken the necessary step to arrive at an amicable solution to curtail the recent spate of killings.

Doug Singh

“There is this clear understanding that this is an opportunity, maybe a first-time opportunity with this very large group to actually move forward and I think we are grateful for that.  There’s a lot that has to be done to ensure that the proper things are put in place but we certainly are grateful for the commitments that are being made on the side of these [gangs], by these parties.”

To understand the gravity of this problem one needs only look at the evolution of gang culture in Belize.  Much like both major political parties, not only do these cliques bear similar colors but their rise to prominence have occurred within the constituencies of past Prime Minister Said Musa and current Prime Minister Dean Barrow.  The former saw the rise of Majestic Alley in Fort George during his consecutive terms in office while the latter has seen and continues to see the growth of George Street in Queen Square.  A similar, unsuccessful attempt at armistice was made in early last year.

Dean Barrow [File: September 2, 2011]

“We acknowledge that in fact the situation has not improved and so we will continue to go with it a will. There is a difference between this time and last timethese were far larger groups. Both the earlier group at one-thirty and the second group at three-thirty and there were many more of the major players. In fact, all the known leaders as far as I can tell were present except for people who might actually in jailand I think we even brought one or two people out of jail. So the point I want to make is that I was cautious and in fact factual in terms of telling you that what will come out of Sunday afternoons meeting is anybodys guesswhether anything will come out of Sundays meeting, is anybodys guess. But the effort has to be made.”

Part of that effort is to provide gang members with gainful employment.

Doug Singh

“Certainly on the group associated with the SSGs they said that they felt that they could take care of their employment opportunities.  We got a different impression from the groups associated with the George Street Gang that certainly they may need some form of assistance in securing employment, recognizing that many of these people are unemployable from the standpoint that business houses and employers in the society at large are not prepared to take chances.”

GOB, for its part has taken several risks, admittedly, Singh says, they did not turn out according to plan.

Raymond "Killa" Gentle

Doug Singh

“The government has made efforts in the past, most recently there was a group of about fifteen that were relocated to different parts of the country.  That program hasn’t worked very well.  There was also the effort, I think, with the construction work, being done on the south side for the rebuilding of certain homes and [Raymond] Killa Gentle was shot on the worksite there.  The prime minister made it absolutely clear to the group that unless we can create a safe working environment even for the members of these groups then it’s useless to try to provide the opportunities because if they can’t work, if they can’t come out and work anywhere then what’s the use of the government effort?”

A coordinating committee has since been assembled to monitor the truce and to propose to government community uplifting initiatives that will also provide jobs across Belize City. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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31 Responses for “Gangs meet with P.M. and commit to a truce”

  1. Rod says:

    Same old useless impotent pm and gov . Don’t you all know that these are the pm own gangs he supports them just like how the Jamaican gov. Supported coke the ganster they have this pm and his gov. In their pocket they are all taking bribes from this gov..

  2. j killa baby borther says:

    Bloods n crips n belize , its time to unite , when u really check it out , we dah really all breada , look pan my breada the original og RAYMoNd KiLLa GENTLe , og GOREGE , leaders that tryed 2 help the yuths of belize …. I know its hard for us belizeans , so y kill each other out when its already hard , we need 2 start with puttin the guns down , we need 2 start with trust , we need 2 b ONE family , think about ur judgement day … GOD Of GODS ,LoRD OF LORD , please every thing , n everyone that have life n my country , and everyone who has pass on ….. last but not least sorry 2 all the mothers who lost a chiild 2 gang war inclueded my moms…..

  3. Dirty sugar!!!! says:

    If you play with puppy–puppy lick yu mouth!!!!!!!!!! — i just hope when the killing start again — it starts within the friends and family section— No offence — to hard working Belizeans. But i am tired of seeing poor — getto south side pple di get shot up!!! Look like the gsngs realy have a grip pan GOB!!!!

    Then the PM cant meet with Public Servants that have been slaving away for years with no salary increase, no proper insurance, Gas price di raise, — cost of living the raise — But he can find time to meet with criminals and drug dealing Gangs –

  4. roska says:

    I agree with you dirty sugar… he didnt have time (or balls as zenaida said) to meet with the hardworking canefarmers either… but is willing to cut his trip short to “sit down and dialogue” (and make concessions) with the monsters that kill and cripple innocent people (including many children) in our streets… with the dealers that are pushing drugs to our children…

    Got the message Belize…?????? you want attention of the PM… forget about hardwork and respecting the law and authorities….. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS KILL THE INNOCENT, POiSON THE MIND OF THE YOUTHS WITH DRUGS, EXTORT, RAPE, MUG, ROB AND THEN THREATEN THE PRIME MINISTER OPENLY ON NATIONAL TV… and wherever he is… he will come running, trembling and willing to “dialogue” with you….

    Iam losing respect for you PM!!! you will never learn….

  5. Belizean says:

    Yeah, you all hit the nail in the head, it was these same guys that sent a threatening text message to his cellphone and they dropped the 8 amendment…Now you all know how to trash the 9 amendment as well..

  6. redbouy says:

    look if you remember this is about the second or third time the PM is signing a “truce”…. it did not work then and it will not work now!!!!!!!! seems to me that the “bader” you are the faster you can get deals from the PM…. i am so sad to see the speciaL treatment that these gangs get and hard working people can not get a break not even a job to feed their families!!!!!! but gang members not only get jods they don’t even want but get free house rent, payed utilities including cable…. that the !*#^@…… PM i had faith in your gov. but now i am losing it…. the sad part is that the PUP is the same… so don’t know what other options the poeple of belize have…… we are !@*%# any way you puit it………

  7. CHD says:

    Why should the PM meet with the killers of Belize!! nonsense mein. the police and himself should get all of them people off the streets and make Belize a better place. this here does not work because they are sent back to the streets. What? i ask myself; where are the police when you need them. why are the out there beating those who cant defend themselves!!! Are they cowards it seems so… why dont they face those criminals then?! PM meeting wit those men just makes them think that they are all that important and that the authority must fear them. Just get them all and ship them to meet the victims. if that the way they want to end. This is serious issue for Belize. but praying to God that it end soon is what we all want right at this moment…Regards CHD

  8. me says:

    Barrow it look like dem gangs really gat you fraida. He no fraid fi Ashcroft n d rest a them. He come on so mighty gainst the hand dat fed him u know, like big bully. This must be a joke….. He cut short his official business to come and wheel and deal with the criminals. WE NEED A REAL LEADER, NOT A COWARD. THIS COUNTRY IS OVER 3 HUNDRED THOUSAND. DEM GANGS DA JUST WA FEW COMPARED TO OUR POPULATION YET DEY HOLD D COUNTRY AT SIEGE AND GAT D PM BY HIS …… He pay d criminals special attention and dont listen to the masses against the 9th ammendment. Hmmmmmm.

  9. c says:

    honest people cant gent no job…but if you in da gang, then the GOB offer you a job…

  10. Belama Resident says:

    daily robberies in Belama area, when will the Police Station open. was this a concession given to the gangs, we will close all police stations . we want to know what was offerred to the gangs. Barrow likes to say everything is above the table with him, then let him disclosed what was offerred to these thugs
    PS. did you notice PM. BOOTS and the CEO dressed like the thugs as to say all a wih dah one!!!

  11. Jac says:

    for that metting is when a bomb should have exploded and kill all of them including the Mr. Barrow , how in the world can he be having a truce with the gangs , when they are the ones that have our country with such bad name , and advertisement all around the world, kill them all!!!

  12. Lucas says:

    There are only two reasons and two reasons only for negociation. (A: When you got the enemy by the balls and you are demanding his total and unconditional surrender or (B: When he got you by the balls and you want to buy some time. Now, who has who by the balls?. The breddas threatened to take the police to court. If a dog bites a man that is no news but, if a man bites a dog? that is news indeed. So when the gangs threatened to take the police to court, all paid attention. Even Barrow who was on the other side of the Caribbean and when they further-more threatened to throw him out the window come election time, the man rushed home. It is of public domain that Barrow instigated lawlessness when in the oposition and God knows what else he is guilty of and if things ended in court, Heaven knows that the closet would be wide opened and those rottened -stinking skeletons would walk out. Sooo Barrow ran back home. Forget about the GRENADE THING. Do you really believe he cares about us? My Fellow Belizeans: Our number one enemy is not the murder rate, nor the high cost of living, neither is our broken health system and poverty isn’t either and not even those fifteen millions Guatemaltecans lined along our western border. Belize’s number one enemy is DEAN OLIVER BARROW.

  13. A says:

    I guess we all need to associate with the gangs for the government to pay us mind then.
    This is really funny! our leader with criminals? Jeez that is scary!!!!
    i was browsing through the news and it said (criminals/gangs)((they agreed to hold peace until after September))
    So i should assume after September we are going back to the same..
    everyday somebody will be killed – and if you pay more attention daily its more than one
    i don’t even watch news anymore cause beautiful Belize is going to waste!!! it hurts cause i live here and I’m a Belizean too:) we all need Jesus

    Viva belice….long live belize ( thats what i say for the sep 21….
    mmm i wander if i will say that next year with all this $#!% taking place.IF I SURVIVE…

  14. supermario says:

    never heard of a pm meeting officially with gangsters…..what kind of nation is this one? the world is laughing at you….wake up people, refuse to be part of this ridicolus system…

  15. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why is the PM negotiating with these terrorist?Shame on you Mr Barrow.

  16. James Bond says:

    Why is the prime Minister in support of these people? doesn’t the government has the power to protect and vanish these useless people, Shame on the government, take as example the mexican government, those are real people at work.

  17. deedee says:

    VACANCY

    Looking for individuals who want to work.

    Qualification: No Education
    Must have shot or kill atleast 3-4 people before
    Individual must have atleast 1 yr experience in robbery
    Having a Criminal Record or spent time in prison is a must
    Proficiency in making threats towards victims
    Being a low life bomb

    If you fit these criteria please send your resume to The Office Of The Prime Minister

    CRIME DOES PAY!!!!!!

  18. The Man says:

    This must be the most shameless, dirty, no give a damn, coward, worthless PM in the world. What a scumbag! Negotiating with terrorists. Give me a break! Whatever happened to integrity? I guess I will agree: “all brilliance and no substance”. What a waste. Whatever respect I might have had has just evaporated. Imagine cutting short an official meeting to come and meet with the lowest of low life characters. This he did only because he was threatened to be voted out, imagine the
    “posse bilities”. Well, well, well. Maybe the criminals are in fact operated and financed by the politicians after all. HHmmmm.

  19. Rev says:

    if they meet with the gang leaders and they know that they are the heads of the criminal organizations of Belize, why not just arrest them in the spot, take them to jail and use any means necessary against them to reveal the inter web of their criminal organization and bring down and destroy thier criminal organizations once and for all!!!…why they can’t just do that!! The Government don’t have the balls and courage to protect the Belizean people!!!…im geting disapointed about this goverment….i guess we the Belizean people have to start our own revolultion whipe out coruption and start from scrach with a new system!!!

  20. Know.. says:

    Mr Barrow is the leader of all the gang leaders. Why do u think all of them went without fear or being arrested??? I wonder how much profit he makes off them??? And it’s a shame that he puts priority on them than us.

    Dis DA Belize….

  21. wow says:

    this is the most ridiculous article i’ve ever read. gang leaders meeting up with the pm? arrest them and execute their @$$#$! our government is ridiculous…it’s crap like this that makes me feel like we should have stayed under the british empire. our country would have been better off without these idiots infiltrating belize. i hope to god someone brings them all to their death.

  22. Concerned Citizen says:

    Crime has escalated and is plaguing our Beizean streets EVERYDAY at any time of day!! I understand that perhaps these gang members may come from broken families, have experienced abuse and neglect and poor living conditions. However, those conditions does not qualify them to take away innocent lives and have the Belizean population living in fear! These gang members are only a few as compared to Belize’s entire population and if we continue to leave all matters to the Government, then we will get no where!!! It is time for DEAN BARROW to leave his post and start a new political system for neither the PUP will be of any help. Being a female, i also believe its time for more women to become interested in politics for i honestly believe we can do a better job. (No offence to the males)
    PM has time to meet with gang members but not with the families who are unemployed or youths out of school????Hmmmmm….now that’s interesting.

  23. annonymous says:

    I think all forms of gov. are useless never help the people and to meet with the Gang Leaders what kind of BULL is that they should have take them they should have lock their @$$#$ down what kind of gov. do this things thats why belize is going through crap but u know who have the fault we the people well no we cause personally i dont vote that what gives me the rite to talk about the gov.all the violence in the city could be stop if they want to they know who is doing the shooting and everything else what the gov. should do is set a curfew and if at anytime after the curfew lock them up and if its gang members give them a good beating people ask the police to stop the crime and when they beat some one up they say police brutality thats why it will never change and u know what started all that BS Human Rights a gang member or a murderer have the same rights and / or more rights than everybody else i think if the gov. hang some of these parasites they’ll se the government aint !@#$%^& around

  24. Nook says:

    I think our PM is trying. Why dont the haters take his position and see if they cant do any better? Y all nothing but a hater…

  25. panasonic says:

    Why dont the haters take PM position and see if they can do any better? I think out PM is trying. Y’all nothing but a hater.

  26. Justice says:

    Pm and gangs meet. So what else is new? One and the same thing . Poor Belize!

  27. Richard Griffith says:

    Why is the PM kowtowing to a bunch of thugs? Thugs that have held the entire country hostage for years now! These characters have no code of honour that they live up to! These criminals that were tossed out of the US and went back to Belize in disgrace and decided to take out their frustrations on innocent Belizeans. The government needs to declare war on these hoodlums and lock em up or eradicate the vermins!

  28. Steve says:

    Where is the Barrow that once upon a time said: “Bring it on”, “with no apology”, “if the need be, I’ll send the force to deal with the cane farmers”, “They represent a minority”. Barrow is leading Belizeans to a precipice. Mexico has the cartels from the gulfo, los hermanos arellanos, etc. Barrow is giving too much prominence to the gangs in Belize to the extent that his gov’t is naming the gangs such as the George Street gang. So Barrow (his law firm?) is incorporating the gangs in Belize. Gangs are just a handful, so why much importance? Does he have a debt with them? is the debt related to his cry of “civil disobedience? The shooting of his law partner is related to this debt? Why so much prominence for the gangs. They are just a handful. This is the time that Barrow should tell the gangs: ‘Bring it on”. Gangs are destroying Bz. killing the tourism industry, killing productive citizens. Cane farmers, teachers, police, unions are nation builders. Barrow, watch your steps!

  29. Nena says:

    I wrote this poem “.Echoes of Hell,” and for the PM to meet with such……..well it says it all

    They are on the streets again;
    Why they do – we do not know
    Their intent but to kill
    To scatter blood and bone

    They care not whom they hurt
    Be it woman, man nor child;
    With minds full of fury
    A sickness that’s gone wild.

    A country plagued with violence
    Is but their intent
    Terror is their method
    And to paint the streets with red

    It’s not about you
    It’s not about me
    It’s about the person we cannot see
    Who’s ready to pounce at any time
    For whatever means he feels

    Who knows how long
    Must we live on the edge
    In this land that is betrayed
    By the governance of it’s officials
    Who lives at ease it seems

    At this point in time we can affect
    The chance we have right now
    To right the wrong that is but done
    And escape these echoes of hell

  30. Samael says:

    Rod, it is quite funny you approach this issue in this manner. All you are talking about is full of rhetoric, without any evidence or pure, logical substance to back up your claims. The PM and gangs do not have that kind of relationship. However, the issue has escalated to the point that the GOB has resorted to begging the gangs for peace. It isn’t merely a mater of bribery and payment, but rather that of principle. That is where you commit erroneous mistakes with your analysis. Hope you do better next time. Do not just talk, but rather think critically!

  31. ashley says:

    Barrow needs to stand down and alow a real man to run the country a man thats not only book smart but street smart @$$ well so Mr. Musa its time for you to come back and save this country PLZ PLZ PLZ PLZ Mr. MUSA SAVE US

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