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Sep 23, 2021

Peace Treaty Brokered Between Backa Lands and PIV

A ceasefire has been brokered between two Belize City gangs with a history of enmity that has seen many lives lost on both sides of that bitter rivalry. On Wednesday evening, the Leadership Intervention Unit, headed by William Dawson, brought together members of the PIV and Backa Lands gangs to iron out a peace treaty. The session came in the wake of Sunday’s deadly assault that claimed the life of seventeen-year-old Michael Henry and injured another person he was traveling with inside a vehicle en route to Belize City. Viewers would recall that neither of the groups in question was among those rounded up in the recent state of emergency, however, the fickle nature of the situation involving PIV and Backa Lands prompted to the unit to call them to mediation.  After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that a truce is in order. News Five spoke with Dawson who is also the Director of Wagner’s Youth Facility at the Belize Central Prison.


William Dawson

William Dawson, Leadership Intervention Unit

“The Leadership Intervention Unit is taking an interagency approach, a collaborative approach and in that regard we are working very closely with the Belize Police Department, with Assistant Commissioner of [Police] Dr. Rosado and we’re actually working very closely with the Director of the Department of Youth Services, Mr. Kevin Cadle, and Human Development and Starla Bradley. And so, what has happened is that we had brought the young men together in a discussion to air out what it is that their differences are; what caused the disturbance between them and the way forward.”


Isani Cayetano

“What were some of the reactions or the positions taken by these individuals who met with you guys yesterday? I know that perhaps there are a lot of strong feelings in terms of the situation that has befallen either side of this rivalry.”


William Dawson

“Well it was a very tense situation yesterday. It was very emotional. As you are aware that the PIV and the Backa Lands group have been warring factions for many years and the BLC lost a familiar person to them, someone who they expressed grew up around them, who was not affiliated but they knew him very well. And that really struck them deeply because the young man got killed senselessly in their understanding and it really was a very emotional situation whereby there was a lot of back and forth. There were threats being hurled and at the end of the day what we did was allow them to air their differences and then we kicked in with the mediation strategies thereafter.”

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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