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Jun 8, 2021

G.O.B. Pushing Employment to Tackle Gangs

Last week Friday, a number of community leaders got together to hold what they call a leadership intervention program to address crime and violence in Belize City. A release from the group says that the initiative is led by the Behavioral Modification and Conflict Management Services, formerly C.Y.D.P.  It brings together key persons from the community to form a task group with representation from the police, Wagner’s Youth facility, Belize City Council, as well as Francis Woods, Virgilio Murillo and other persons in the community. They met with leaders of several of the twenty-three of the twenty-seven groups on Friday. On Monday, Prime Minister John Briceño said that while he will not negotiate with gang members, his government is pushing for opportunities for at-risk youths.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“You can’t stop people who want to kill themselves. As much as we would not want that to happen, these people have a death wish and they are going after one another. As much as we put the police on the streets and try to monitor them as closely as possible, they find ways. So, we just have to be going aggressively at them and trying to – whenever we get guns off the street or get some of these guys off the street; doing more community policing so that we can get better intelligence to be able to address that issue.”


Isani Cayetano, Host

“I don’t take it that you are one to sit down and negotiate with these individuals…?”


Prime Minister John Briceño

“No. We will not negotiate with no gangs; no criminals. What we are doing is that we are partnering with business community. For instance, Stake Bank, the cruise port, I was there two Thursdays ago. A part of the programme that Nuri is doing is trying to partner some of these guys that need work and have been giving trouble to get them off the street and put them in areas where they can work. And so we have them for instance in Stake Bank and we are looking for other areas where we can put them to work. Many of these people simply because they feel that they have no other option but just a life of crime. So, we have to continue to work with the private sector to be able to create jobs and then to be able to get these guys off the street and put them to work and see how we can get them to get a trade.”

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