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Nov 2, 2012

Crime Declaration: no warrant needed; area access restricted

John Saldivar

Belize may not be a police state, but the implementation of some draconian laws may have that effect in certain neighborhoods in Belize City and possibly other parts of the country. The government considers crime has reached crisis levels and on Thursday, the Prime Minister said, there is no way we can give in to a climate that holds business and entire communities hostage.” At the same business forum, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, declared that certain hotspots would now fall under the term Crime Ridden Areas. In these areas officers would enter private property and conduct searches at any given time without the need of a warrant. Movement in and out of those areas would be restricted, and systematic searches would be the norm. Saldivar said on Thursday that the new measures came with immediate effect as of Wednesday. The media was barred from recording this portion of the forum today we got a copy of Saldivar’s statement.

 

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“Since yesterday, the security forces including the B.D.F. have been deployed into crime ridden areas and are, as we speak, aggressively targeting and disrupting criminals and their activities. There is now visible presence in these areas and we again ask your cooperation and understanding during the security forces operations. The police commissioner will be invoking today, for the first time I believe since the law was passed, the declaration of several crime infested areas of Belize City as crime ridden areas which will give his police and B.D.F. the power to search any and all houses in the area without the need for a warrant. This declaration will also allow the police and the B.D.F. to restrict movement in and out of these areas. These areas will be cordoned off and every person entering and exiting the area will be stopped and searched and a systematic house by house search of these areas will be done with immediate effect. The police and the B.D.F. have for several weeks now been conducting special operations in the city on weekends. These operations, in our opinion, have been stemming the regular weekend spate that used to full the Monday night newscast. However, the criminals have adapted and shifted their activities to weekdays and even broad daylight. We therefore are quickly adapting and as of yesterday the weekend operations of the police and B.D.F. have now become an everyday, seven days a week, operation. Patrols which used to be stepped up on the weekends are now stepped up on a daily basis. Six ATVs with police and B.D.F. are now deployed on a daily basis. Special foot patrols are now in place also on a daily basis. Vehicle checkpoints are once again being strategically placed cross the city to intercept and disrupt criminals. Special intelligence officers who are familiar with these criminals are being placed at these checkpoints with list of names and pictures of persons of interest. Every person in whom we have an interest will be detained and held for questioning as often and as long as it takes for the police to conduct proper investigations into the many unsolved crimes that are under investigation. As of today, the Director of Public Prosecutions is being asked to petition the court for the imposition of stiffer conditions for bail and even the denial of bail for repeat offenders. I am making a public call to the magistrates and judges to use their discretion afforded to them by law to impose stiffer penalties on persistent criminals; to impose stiffer conditions for bail and even begin denying bail to these habitual criminals. With regards to the habitual criminals, especial juvenile habitual criminals, I am happy to report that the Ministry of National Security has received the go-ahead of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to establish a corrective training facility where we intend to house convicted habitual juvenile criminals for a period of corrective training and discipline. More on this proposal will be released shortly, but I can indicate from the outset that this facility will be located in the Pine Ridge; it will be administered by the Belize Defence Force personnel.”

 

According Saldivar, the operations will cost in excess of one hundred thousand dollars on a weekly basis. 

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29 Responses for “Crime Declaration: no warrant needed; area access restricted”

  1. NY says:

    I hope that the people that they are frisking are known criminal elements because it would be a travesty for innocent people to get caught up into this web. I’m all for it if innocent people are not harmed. Here in the states this is called profiling which is illega, and the reason it is illegal is because it usually affect the poor and disenfranchised citizens. People who ar at the bottom of the social economic ladder in any society,are the ones who need the most help, this is why the authorities must be very careful when they go about carrying out these raids.

  2. dada says:

    Its about time its a start foward

  3. Storm says:

    This action is pretty extreme. but so is the murder situation. I am cautiously willing to support it now, but we must be very vigilant to make sure it does not grow in scope and become an excuse for abuse — and yes, for tyranny.

    Adolph Hitler became dictator of Germany because of a similar declaration after someone [maybe his own agents?] burned their National Assembly building.

    But if they can sweep the streets of the 100 or so career murderers that have brought the whole nation to this low point, and then restore full liberty as soon as that is accomplished, the country will be better off for it.

    While they’re at it, put the hammer down on Hezbollah, the Zetas, and all other foreign crime groups.

  4. Marten Holdway says:

    This is a step in the right direction why must the peaceful majority have their lives ruined by a minority of violent thugs and bully boys. the peaceful majority have had it up to their necks and now is the time to strike back. Bugger these knobs human rights they gave those up a long time ago.

  5. Rum Drum says:

    I bet $100 that the PUP lawyers are going to oppose this and will be all over tv on Monday and that they will go to court over this

  6. eee says:

    oh yes MR thug Dean Rat Barrow, its not enough that you stole all poor belizeans money , now you want your dogs the GSU to terrorise ordinary people, your day will come , Karma will catsh , just wait dog.

  7. Rod says:

    When you have no ideas you do anything even taking away the rights of innocent people nothing will change until the laws change and the hanging penalty is brought back and the corruption from the top of this gov. Is purged still up to today no one has even gone to court for selling passports why is their no one in jail this is the question you need to ask channel 5 news ask judas barrow why is no one in jail for treason all his people selling pass ports and no one ends up in court or in jail this tells you one thing they do not want to put anyone in jail because they would also have to end up in jail themselves, guan judas barrow guan you are a complete and utter failure at your job. Resignnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  8. belizean says:

    This should have beendone a long time ago

  9. KINGS KID says:

    About time! Draconian measures? Bring it on!! Desperate times call for desperate measures. I sure hope the govt. is really serious and that these efforts will “pay” off (no pun intended). I pray for my country that the:

    Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ has revealed [His] glory to all nations, [would] protect and preserve Belize, our beloved country. God of might, wisdom and justice, please assist our Belizean government and people with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude.

    Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct their plans and endeavours so that with Your help we may attain our just objectives. With Your guidance, may all our endeavours tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge.

    We pray, O God of Mercy, for all of us, that we may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law; that we may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world itself cannot give. And, after enjoying the blessings of this life, please admit us, dear Lord, to that eternal reward that You have prepared for those who love You.

    Amen.

    CAN WE HAVE THIS RE-INSTATED ONCE AGAIN, TWICE DAILY (A.M. AND P.M. ) ON THE AIRWAVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY? AND CAN WE, FROM OUR HEARTS TRULY MAKE THIS A PRAYER FOR BELIZE?

  10. Hatari says:

    It’s about time! Now lets see if they can pull this off. The U.S., and other countries have donated everything from vehicles to bullet proof vests and radios to K9′s and provided the training required to use these assets in a professional and effective way. Now, the question is, does GOB have the will to keep the heat on. Only time will tell.

  11. freddy says:

    i must say this is about the smartest decession the prime minister of belize ever made.you can’t have these thugs been above the law in belize,we have the BDF making a free pay check every month put them on every block tourism is one of the biggest revenue in belize if the law don’t cracked down now our small jewel won’t be safe for no one to walk the streets so hats off to the first step of putting belize defence force on the streets.

  12. Maria says:

    It might seem harsh but if this is what it takes I am 100% behind GOB.

  13. Bear says:

    This is a rough decision, but I think all of us who have been calling for rough justice must support it, at least unless and until it goes too far.

    I hope GOB is also prepared to move roughly into whatever towns the criminals might move to wait out this storm. We can’t expect them to stay at home and passively take it, so I expect notorious faces will turn up elsewhere — down to Grigatown, up to OW or Corozal, to Belmopan, anywhere they will feel more comfortable for w while. BDF has to be prepared to pursue and to hunt until the enemy is finished.

  14. DENNIS JONES says:

    I AM SO GLAD I DONT LIVE THERE ANY MORE THE CRIMINALS WILL FIND WAYS AROUND THESE RESTRICTIONS THE ORDINARY CITIZENS WILL SUFFER, INNOCENTS WILL BE HARRASED AND THE UNFETTERED LAW ENFORCEMENT MAN ONE SAID “MINIONS WILL RUN RAMPANT OVER THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS BUT AS A WISE MAN ONCE SAID”THOSE WHO WOULD SACRIFICE FREEDOM FOR SECURITY DESERVE NEITHER”

  15. moses says:

    Those who have food, shelter and clothing usually don’t commit crimes. A recent survey found that the crimes in Belize were mostly committed by the disenfranchised. There are many people in the old city and other parts of the country notably Hattieville and Ladyville where people don’t know where their next meal will come from. Weed, alcohol, help them forget their belly pain for a while. They commit crimes to survive, drugs, hits, burglary whatever. There is no foodstamp in Belize. The new draconian law recently enacted is merely a band-aid for a much bigger problem. Consider the numerous single family households, usually supported by a woman and a the man de jour. Birth control will go a long way, it will decrease the number of unsustainable youths who turn to crime. Trade schools, forced community labor, if you get busted 3 times one would be expelled to a communal farm. England had a worse problems when the could not sustain their population. They deported their criminals to Australia. Australia today is a prosperous country. There are many actions we can take to right our sinking country and it has to be bipartisan and decisive and directed at all level of society and not just the poor. The poor have power too. Remember the French Revolution. AS FOR PRAYERS, no amount of praying will fix our problem. Oh Lord please come down on earth and rain down fish and bread on these poor people. Please straighten out Belize and the rest of the world. I wish that prayer were the answer, but those of us who are intelligent enough know that religion is the opium of the masses. Prove me wrong, go ahead and pray, pray hawd, and long and if things change, and Belize becomes a peaceful country without human intervention, Hell, I’ll pray too. Krismus dih kom. Some of us still believe in Santa.

  16. Louisville,Ky says:

    moses, what kind of foolishness you talking? The last time I checked Ladyville and Hattieville were both Rural communities where land is in ample supply to grow a back yard garden. Yet you crying about people not knowing where their next meal is going to come from?
    I am gonna give all of you some free advice.Why not try sticking a cassava stick in the ground or a bannana sucker and while you are at it, just throw some okra and tomato seeds on the side, then halla back at me.
    Belizeans need to start doing for self and stop depending on hands out.

  17. Storm says:

    Moses, your heart’s in the right place, but I think you are mixing up results and causes. Admittedly it is very complex, and I have never met anyone, myself included, who seems to have all the answers.

    I don’t agree that poverty causes crime. During the world depression of the 1930′s no place had the level and quality of crime we suffer here. Poor people don’t necessarily become thieves, many of them adapt their level of living to their income, others work extra hard or get educated to rise out of poverty.

    I contend that the best help for a poor man is to give him a good job at a fair wage. A job pays with security, hope, and pride. That is what we lack in the Jewel, enough good jobs. We have the resources, we have the workforce, we lack capital, and I believe it is scared off by government policies and corruption and Belize generally being hostile to investment, especially foreign investment that has helped some of our neighbors attract big industries. With out English speaking majority, Belize should have a competitive advantage compared with our neighbors, but we lose that advantage due to other policies and practices like granting monopolies to friends of PMs and nationalizing private businesses, just to name two.

    I think that girls having sex and babies without a responsible husband in their lives is the greatest problem, but that is a problem that begins in the home — are they raised with values and morals or not? Are they raised to plan for the future and make the decisions necessary to secure a good future or not? What happened to girls saying “No” until they are committed or, better, married? Like Beyonce says, “Put a ring on it.”

    Unlike you, I feel that religion is the foundation of my life, and it keeps me on the straight path, but I suppose that people can also stay on the right path without faith. But they say with good reason, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” When times are the toughest and most hopeless, faith can give a person strength to get through it. What else does that as well?

    Drugs and alcohol are also terrible social problems, but for the most part the people trying to find answers in a bottle or with drugs are already lost because of poor family life.

    I’m not sure why a segment of this generation turned to violence, drugs, and self-destruction. I think it has become a cancer, and it will kill the whole nation if it is not cut out and eliminated. This operation must be done, and I hope it succeeds quickly.

  18. blvnjah says:

    I have no objection to the need for these dire measures but i hope the pressure is brought down on the known criminals and not the ordinary folks in those communities that just want to survive.

    I would also hope that cabinet is considered a ‘crime ridden area’ and that the crooks in there are rooted out with the same enthusiasm…

  19. AKILES says:

    With every Belizean opinions respects. I would like to give my opinion as a Belizean too; there is no way in the world I agree with that new law that minister Saldivar has been told, first violate the Civil rights of every Belizean, that means give more power to those law enforcement officer that abused from their authority to keep do it how they will come to brake the peace hen u are sleeping in the middle of the night or any time they want to just because the law is on their side what is going on with this government looks like they can’t do their job no more professionalism they can’t control the crime any more is their fold. All I know many innocent people will go to jail until they proved guilty in the court of law for some stupid Idiots. They should implement new tough laws against criminal I agree with that, but just for that the Government is proving to the people of Belize that they becoming communist they can do what they want with the people. Be more professionals and do not violating Belizeans civil rights braking in to their privacy of their house just because you can’t do your job people.
    God protect and bless every Belizean of this abusers

  20. Name Withheld says:

    I remembered when the UPD Government ordered that the radio station stop ( with immediate effect) the transmission of The National Pray.

    And their excuse was that a country cannot have a National Pray because not all the people/citizen of the country are praying for the same thing.

    The real reason was said in a Pre -meeting gathering in Bmp. and the quote is in the next paragraph

    Mr. PM can you please tell the people who Said “That pray is ridiculous, you know what will happen to us politicians and attorneys if they get their just objectives/social justice? We will either be hang or rot in jail!”

    Very interesting…

  21. blackberry says:

    The original 8th amendment is being force upon us. Hoping this will not encourage policemen to increase the planting of bullets on ordinary citizens in order to keep them behind bars for extended periods of time.

  22. alley cat says:

    Known criminals and their families will get on TV and bawl as usual. This comes down to making the tough decisions and sticking to it…

  23. busha says:

    if you opose this, then you’ve got something to hide…

  24. Young Gial says:

    Good move. This should involve people of all class, rich, poor, homeless and the like. No descrimination here. Thanks Mr Minister, and I hope this is conducted by the GSU, cuz they seem to be the only ones that are impartial and non descriminating when it comes to class or gender or affiliations.

  25. Monica says:

    If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. I hope the POLICE/BDF will be able to carryout their duties without Government Interfering if they are able to get their supporters.

  26. israel. garcia says:

    Criminals are like cancer you have to climate them

  27. ceo says:

    We are all tired of the criminals running around committing unspeakable crimes but in a democratic country even during law enforcement human rights need to be taken into consideration; yes and even those of criminals. Whenever human rights is set aside the way this law allows and the police becomes judge and jury he will sonn then become executioner and for sure way too heavy handed.

    Let us be tough on the criminals and for the most part this is a good move by the GOB, however the police should never be given a free reign as this law allows. The law already allows them to act if there is “probable cause” so they would not need a search warrant if there is probable cause to detain, to search and/or to seize property. Some searches should still need a warrant.

    I say button down the area put the BDF and police patrol in there and check those that come in and out of the area and those with no business in the area should not be allowed in after dark.

    Lets not make a bad situation worse!

  28. Augustine says:

    These thugs will move to another area that is not deemed “CRIME RIDDEN AREAS” and make it bad, what is the government doing to make sure these bad apples don’t spoil the good ones.

  29. Ty says:

    Listen the good have to suffer for the bad so if you are innocent so be it but if this is what it takes to get these criminal animals under control so be it. Deal with it or move to Japan

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