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Jan 3, 2019

Dianne Pulls Back the Curtain on Politicians and Gang Leaders

Lake Independence Standard Bearer Dianne Finnegan is representing the United Democratic Party in the 2020 general elections and is widely known for her involvement with at-risk youths through her apprenticeship programme.  She first met Joseph Babb in 2016, who would later become the leader of the Backalands Crips.  During those years, Finnegan would also consider a transition from social activism to electoral politics.  When she set her eyes on Lake Independence, she met with the heads of two rival criminal outfits operating within the constituency for support and guidance.  This was made clear in an interview on Wednesday during which Finnegan eulogized the slain Backalands boss.  The confession took many by surprise, including Lisa Shoman who has been outspoken on a number of social issues affecting Belizeans.  The revelation prompted her to write an opinion piece on politicians and their mutually beneficial relationships with members of the underworld.


Lisa Shoman

On the Phone: Lisa Shoman, Social Activist

“The sense of shock that Belizeans felt, this aspiring politician explaining her relationship with a reputed gang boss, Joseph Babb.  It isn’t as if we don’t know and we have never seen the way things run in Belize City politically with constituencies.  I am not going to talk about anywhere else, my comments are limited to Belize City and I think what is important here is that I was very struck, like many of us were, as to the openness with which Mrs. Finnegan was addressing not only her relationship, but the fact that this person was among the first people whom she consulted.  This was the community leader that she chose to consult [with] going into politics and she explained what it was that they did for each other.  And I think for a lot of people, even though they may have known that this was going on, to hear it expressed so openly, so nonchalantly, I think, was a wake up moment.”


Isani Cayetano

“You drew a comparison to what takes place in Jamaica politically, in terms of what we know to be the garrison constituencies.  Can you expand on that parallel?”


On the Phone: Lisa Shoman

“In Jamaica, certain constituencies were known as garrison constituencies because they are politically on lockdown.  In other words, everybody votes one way and they know how this is to happen and that is because there is street muscle or gangs that have relationships with politicians and enforce the status quo.  What it is that the politician gets and what it is that the street muscle or gang leader gets.  It’s very clear, it’s a symbiotic relationship.  They both get something out of it.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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