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Jul 7, 2020

Another S.O.E. for South Side Belize City Amid Spike in Gang Violence

At three o’clock this morning, another state of emergency came into effect in certain parts of Southside Belize City.  Police believe that the S.O.E. will abate gang activity and other forms of violence perpetuated in the streets of the Old Capital. Two men were killed over the weekend due to warring gangs and police intelligence suggests that more blood would have spilled in the streets in retribution of the murders of Raheem Faber and Raheem Miles.  Since the crack of dawn, police and the B.D.F. were out in full force rounding up the suspected gang members in neighbourhoods they are known to operate.   Ninety-nine persons were detained and will be taken to the Belize City Prison for a period of one month. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An early morning operation carried out by elements of the Belize Police Department has resulted in the cracking down on several Belize City neighborhoods.  The pre-dawn raid comes a few days after a violent weekend where two persons were gunned down and woman was injured in what appear to be gang-related incidents.  The sweep during which ninety-nine persons believed to be active gang members were rounded up, is part of another state of emergency for the south side.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security

“We are here because over the weekend we decided to have parts of Belize City enter into another state of emergency where we would detain certain persons of interest based on what happened last weekend.  As you know, during the last state of emergency certain incidents occurred and there was the threat of it escalating into downright terrorism in Belize City.  Similarly, late last week, as you know, one young man was murdered and over the weekend another one was murdered and one young lady was shot in the arm whilst holding a baby.”


Commissioner of Police Chester Williams delves into further details of a new S.O.E. that was signed into effect by Governor General Sir Colville Young on Monday evening.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“This morning, we launched an operation headed by Mr. Vidal and that operation was to go after those persons who we believe are involved in the recent spate of violent crimes in Belize City and to some extent across the country because it is not just about the shootings but also the robberies that we are seeing across the country that are brazen robberies with people carrying firearms and pushing firearms in the face of people.  Those were committed as well by some of the same persons that we targeted this morning.  Now in terms of why we decided to go into this state of emergency, the minister has covered most of it but you all would recall that when we had the previous one in March, when they were released from custody they were warned and they were told that if it they decide to start their foolishness again that we will be coming back for them.”


Operations Commander, ACP Marco Vidal organized and spearheaded the law enforcement offensive.


Marco Vidal

ACP Marco Vidal, Operations Commander

“This morning between three a.m. and eleven a.m. we launched the operation that was mentioned earlier by the commissioner targeting ten gangs in the south side of Belize City.  The primary focus, however, was two sections or two gangs, the Ghost Town gang and the South Side Gang and its immediate affiliates.  So we utilized just over three hundred officers, that‘s a combined B.D.F. and police team, that operation included the cordoning of the zones by both B.D.F. and the police and then we utilized our strike teams which are the specialized units.  The Gang Suppression Unit, the Special Patrol Unit, the Anti-gang Taskforce, Special Branch and the Mobile Interdiction Team.”


According to Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte, who is also the Attorney General, efforts were being made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the first anti-gang state of emergency was declared, to address the perennial issue of gang violence in the country.


Michael Peyrefitte

“We will not tolerate any lawlessness in this country, we‘re in the middle of a pandemic already and we don‘t need any headaches, so a stiff message has already been sent to persons of interest and more stiff messages are about to come, especially if they don’t decide to straighten up.  Now you may ask, well we’ve been here before.  Well I can tell you, the last time we did this we were already assessing some strategies for the way forward but COVID-19 came and itself was something we had to deal with.  But the expectation is certainly during this period and beyond, we will have to determine what we can do or say to some of these young men or do for them to prevent them from wanting to commit these crimes and commit these horrible acts in the city and in the country overall.”


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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