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May 5, 2020

Gang Truce Amid COVID-19, Police Street Unites

Earlier this year, a state of emergency was instituted on the south side of the city allowing for the imprisonment of gang members due to the spike in violent crimes. After reviving an old truce, the gangs were released from prison and have generally kept the peace. Today, rival gangs on Police Street were out together distributing much needed food assistance to the less fortunate in that community. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Is meaningful reform at all possible among feuding Belize City gangs?  We’ve covered several ceasefires over the past five years, some that were organized through the Conscious Youth Development Programme and others that were called by their respective leaders.  Oftentimes those fragile agreements to end the senseless violence and increase the peace are short-lived, futile attempts that culminate in bloodshed.  This morning, rival groups in the Police Street neighbourhood are putting down the guns in the name of brotherhood.  Leading the charge is Brandon Baptist.


Brandon Baptist

Brandon Baptist, Resident, Police Street

“We just wahn di neighbourhood and show people that we da noh no monstaz, right.  Caz everybody tek we fi monstaz, yo check.  We wahn show dehn we could get together and live together as one, yoh get di sense.  So basically right now, we just di try live as one, we di try help out back fu we community and dehn deh, yo get di sense.  Di poor, di needy, caz dehn got lotta people weh need out deh right now, yoh get di sense.  So we get together and put fu we lee money together and we seh well we wahn come together as one and we wahn try help people.  We wahn help who we could help, yoh undastand.”


That newfound sense of unity sees factions of PIV and a rival group led by Brandon Baptist coming together amid the economic crisis brought about by COVID-19 to reach out to the less fortunate.  This morning, with the assistance of CYDP, they went around the community distributing food supplies purchased with their own monies.


Brandon Baptist

“I wahn people feel free and thing.  Noh di worry bout we, yo get di sense.  Unu noh haftu worry noh more cause we noh into no beef or we noh into no problem noh more.  We deh ya fi live now cause all ah we di get olda, yo check.  We noh di get younga, we di olda so we haftu learn fi live as one.”


Isani Cayetano

“You guys come from a somewhat long history of feuds with each other, the two sides of Police Street.  How did you guys decide at this point to put all of those differences behind you?”


Brandon Baptist

“Well, ah just wahn put everything behind we mein because ih noh even mek sense we di fuss and fight with each otha fa because we cyant go out dehn and seh we di fight fi dis, check.  So we just wahn stop all dis, yo dig.  We noh wahn noh more fuss and fight noh more, we just wahn live as one yoh undastand.  You know how good ih feel fu mek we just talk to each other, walk beside each other, hail each other.  Dat da wahn good feeling too mein, yoh get di sense, although lotta things done happen already but we put den deh aside, we put den deh da back ah we.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now talk to me about what you guys have put there to go out and distribute to people in the neighborhood.”


Brandon Baptist

“Ah got wahn lee package deh, dah noh nothing much.  We got rice, beans, whatsoever, flower, lee noodles, lee snacks, soft drinks, lotta lee stuff, well we wahn try help out people weh need.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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