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Feb 16, 2018

Police Open Basketball Cup

The third annual Sprite Eastern Police Division Basketball Cup kicked off today with three games on the outdoor basketball court at the new Civic Center. The tournament started back in 2016 as an intervention activity for high risk and gang members on the south side of Belize City. This year fourteen teams from both south side and the north side will be competing for cash prizes. According to Douglas Hyde of the Belize Police Department, over the past two years they’ve seen tangible evidence that the tournament kept at risk young men away from criminal activities.


Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde, National Youth Program Coordinator, BPD

“2016 and 2017 were just teams from south side. So, Jane Usher Boulevard, Yabra, Port Loyola, Collet, Queen Square – all the areas on south side we tried to get teams that were gang related. This year we have teams from both north side and south side. So, we have incorporated teams from Freetown, Buttonwood Bay, Jungle and Majestic Alley in terms of participation along with the south side. So, we will have the guys on Saturdays which the games will be played from ten in the morning until two. Today is the official opening so we will have three games being played here at the Civic Center outside basketball court. The whole objective and initiative is to look at ways of doing intervention with these guys instead of shooting guns to shoot hoops – to play basketball. So, to have them interact with their rivals in terms of playing sports is one of the ways we see best and also in terms of what the guys are saying. Along with the basketball tournament, we have a life-skills personal development session through the Ministry of Human Development Community Rehab Department there is a Skies Program that looks at anger management, conflict resolution, grief and loss, sessions that are very important for them on a day to day basis. The twist to it this year is when these guys compete against each other they will be looked at how they perform during the game time and the person who shows the best kind of behavior will be awarded likewise.  In 2016 when there was a serious spike in shooting in the Mayflower area, this competition and the other initiatives we carried out in the south side showed a reduction in shootings and murders.  2017 when we tried it again, it showed that the guys who participated both in 2016 and 2017, none of them were ever arrested for any major crimes – no shootings, no murders and that itself impacted about ninety participants from different areas. This year we have over one hundred participants and we are looking at the same objectives. It is to have these guys who participate not being involved in any of the crimes and violence in the City. It is also a stipulation that if you ever get caught by the police, you will not be part of the tournament.”


The tournament will run for about five and a half months ending around October this year. Games will be played at different basketball courts across the city and it is expected that play-off games will be held at the Civic Center. 

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