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Oct 19, 2011

Alternative to Violence Project Training

Most people refer to Belize as the jewel or Mother Nature’s best kept secret because of the natural beaches and exotic Maya sites. But the truth is that Belize is also ranked the sixth most violent place to live in the world. It is a sobering reflection to the staggering levels of crime and violence. To this end, forty facilitators were awarded today at the end of Phase One of the Alternative to Violence Project Training International, where participants were trained on how to manage conflicts before they result in violence. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reporting.

Nelma Mortis, Programme Officer, Restore Belize

“Recent figures from Interpol shows that murder rate for Belize has more than doubled in the last decade, moving from sixteen per hundred thousand, to thirty-four per hundred thousand which shows an equivalent of a hundred and thirteen percent increase, which makes us the second fastest growing Caribbean country in terms of our murder rate.”

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Nelma Mortis

The statistics provided by the Restore Belize Program Officer, Nelma Mortis, is indicative of the social crisis that is plaguing the country. It is also the reason why there was an urgent need for an Alternative to Violence Project workshop that was held at the University of Belize.

Nelma Mortis

“The Alternative to Violence Project Training organized by UB in collaboration with Restore Belize, UWI, YFF which is Youth for the Future and the Duke of Edinburg Awards Program along with the expertise and commitment of our international facilitators and especially our local Ms. Ellis [Cynthia Williams Ellis] for the vision was not just an accident. I don’t want to consider it just another talk shop or just another sit-in shop.”

Phillip Cadle

Forty persons completed the first phase of the project and are now equipped with conflict management skills to diffuse situations of anger and frustration that can lead to violent behavior. They shared their experiences in poetry.

Phillip Cadle, Participant

“It is my belief and the belief of many others here that an evaluation of self has been done. We just need to believe it people. It is my belief and the belief of many others here that only through peace and love we will get there.”

Karen Castillo, Participant

Karen Castillo

“Alternative to Violence is the theme, oh lord it was Ms. Cynthia’s dream. A dream came through and in time too to restore a country destined to doom. We came from different walks in life with a passion that is so alike.”

The organizers are hopeful that the participants will use the skills to effect change in their communities.

Jane Bennett

Jane Bennett, Head, UWI Open Campus Belize

“Together we can all turn things around in our society. It is never, ever too late and violence is never, ever the answer. Go forward and use the alternative to violence techniques that you are now equipped. You are leaders of today and tomorrow and the time for action is N-O-W: now.”

Dr. Carey Fraser, President, University of Belize

Carey Fraser

“Belize is still at a state where there are episodes of violence. If this issue is not addressed then it will become a culture of violence and this is the important thing about this seminar. There’s a timeliness to it now. You have to deal with it now. If you wait too long, it will go beyond control.”

Carmen Hamilton

Carmen Hamilton, Representative, AVP Caribbean

“This is a journey; you have begun the journey. It is for you now to develop, take the tools that we have offered and share them. In the next few days you will go on to advanced training and in that training you will look deeper into yourselves and decide where you wish to go.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The participations now move into a second phase of the Alternative to Violence Project training.

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