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Jul 11, 2012

Restore Belize looks to conflict mediation training

The increase in crime and violence has spilled from the streets to many homes across the old capital as well as in Cayo. The situation has overwhelmed and exhausted most allocated resources since conflict is normally solved at the barrel of a gun. One of the programs formed just two years ago as a crime prevention initiative, Restore Belize saw the need for mediators; people who are trained in conflict stabilization and resolution. Restore Belize has since established a pilot project called Mediators of Belize, which has trained over thirty persons to effectively address issues related with crime on both sides of the fence. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was on hand for the certificate distribution.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today, the U.S Embassy and Restore Belize recognized thirty six mediators with the presentation of certificates. The trainees, including agencies, community activists and civilians, underwent two months of training in peace, mentoring and intervention strategies. Mary Vasquez of Restore Belize says, a great need exists for more intermediaries.

 

Mary Vasquez

Mary Vasquez, Programme Director, Restore Belize

“We are talking about peace; we are talking about keeping peace on the ground but we have so few people keeping peace on the ground and the truth is that, so many days we don’t know what to do. We figure it out and we do something but it would help so much if we have more feet on the ground and if we could have more information and more methodologies about what we need to do be doing. We have gotten really good reactions from our partners on the ground and really and truly, we don’t do this just for the hell of it; we do this because we were responding to a need that our partners have expressed. We were responding to a need that we recognize as a community of youth service providers.”

 

Julie Walton

Julie Walton, an expert on conflict resolution, was brought to Belize through the U.S Embassy to train and work with the mediators; she says they have covered a lot of ground in the past two months.

 

Julie Walton, U.S. DOS/CSO Engagement Lead

“We have thirty six mediators that have been trained; that’s awesome in two months. We have eleven trained mediators who can now instruct; so we can now grow that number of thirty six mediators as time goes on. We have twenty mediators who completed their mediation mentoring. We have eight new institutions that are now utilizing mediation that didn’t previously. We have ten institutions that were introduced to mediations and are now coming back and seeking those services on a regular basis. Every time you went out and do a co-mediation, you educated somebody new on what mediation is all about and that’s how you create ground swell. It’s just great and it’s just amplifying out in the community. Sixty two mediations have been performed; about a hundred and fifty people have been mediated with; that’s awesome. We’ve had forty-nine mediations where violence had happened or was threatened; so we’ve actually stopped some violence already fro those two months that we’ve been here. You did have.  You guys have; all we did was instruct you but you guys went out there and you did that.”

 

Supporter of the pilot programme, Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally tasked the newly certified mediators to forge ahead.

 

Vinai Thummalapally

Vinai Thummalapally, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“I encourage each and every one of you to continue to work hard and make a difference at your work and in your communities. I challenge you to uphold your commitment in the coming year. You are the future of the program; each and every one of you. You are the future to be the pioneers for peace; the future to be peer mediators and the future of community leaders.”

 

C.E.O. in the Prime Minister’s Office, Audrey Wallace, says while this is only the beginning, it is imperative that we boost the number of mediators.

 

Audrey Wallace

Audrey Wallace, C.E.O., Prime Minister Office

“It is important for us to understand that this is a long term problem; a problem that has taken a long time to come to where we are today and one that will take a long time to solve. These things like conflict mediation training, it is so critical that we build our local capacity to be able to address the myriad of issues coming out of the kind of crime problem that we are seeing today.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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3 Responses for “Restore Belize looks to conflict mediation training”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m not going to get my hopes up to high over this. I’m sure mediators can help with some low-level conflicts and unhardened people.

    But we have scores of gangster “zombies” — people who are walking and terrorizing even though, for all useful purposes, they have already destroyed their lives by choosing to join gangs, commit violent crimes, and traffic drugs. The living dead. Sadly, I doubt these well-intentioned mediators will successfully turn 1 out of 100 such gangsters away from violence.

    I really hope I’m wrong and mediators can make a noticeable reduction in violence in the Jewel. But until they do, I support all harsh measures by BDF, GSU, and the other elite security forces against gangsters. One way or another, we must make the Jewel a safe place to live again without fear of violence.

  2. Rod says:

    Where are the ballons where come on this is the same thing the us gov. Did in Mexico 4 years ago and since then 30’000.00 more people are dead come on what truly needs to be done is the USA needs to start training their population to say no to drugs instead of this useless show. But where are the ballons .

  3. Omar Rodriguez says:

    the world needed a mediator between Heaven and Earth if you can read between the lines, in this worldly life trial and challenges its most important to invest in these types of program and we should compare it a seed , it takes time and constant nurishment to it blossom with healthy and productive youths, and we all should be asking , what we can do for our country and not what our country can do for us, good Job Restore Belize!

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