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Nov 25, 2020

State of Emergency – A Kneejerk Reaction to Urban Gang Warfare

Kareem Musa

You’ve heard Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa commend the way the police officers responded to the violence. Musa told the press today that with the spate of crime in recent days, what we shouldn’t expect is a kneejerk reaction from his ministry – so a state of emergency will not be at the top of the list for a response to urban gang warfare. Here’s how he explains it:


Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs & New Growth Industries

“In the past, it was the habit so to speak—at least during the time of COVID—for there to be a declaration of state of emergency.  Of course that is something that is always on the table, but it is not something that we will jump at, at the first instance. We certainly are looking at interventions, looking at definitely applying different strategies and with a different approach, as we had said on the last occasion, in a respectful manner in respect to innocent civilians. But certainly there are criminal elements in our society and of course, in a time like this, the police have to be able to do their job and I think that the public will be understanding if it is that the criminal elements who are wanted, who are suspected to be involved, if they are not cooperating with the police department. I am not in any way saying that the police will come down heavy on them, but the reality is being a police officer is a very tough job.  A lot of people out there don’t like the style and approach of the Belize Police Department, but at the end of the day, it is the toughest job right now. And so I don’t k in any way envy the commissioner; he is sitting in a very hot seat and likewise, myself inheriting this seat. It is a hot seat, no doubt. But I am young, I am energetic; I look forward to the challenge. But more than anything else, like I said it is regrettable and my heartfelt condolences to all those family members who lost their loved ones and especially those innocent civilians, innocent citizens, who have zero involvement in any sort of criminal activities whatsoever—we have a couple of them who lost their lives. So it is a terrible situation and definitely we will be employing strategies, but it is not our immediate kneejerk reaction to go to a state of emergency.”

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