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Oct 8, 2021

Dr. Gayle: State of Emergencies Feel Good, But Ultimately Don’t Work

Social Anthropologist Doctor Herbert Gayle has done extensive research on the issue of crime and violence across the region.  Based on his research, Doctor Gayle has also made recommendations about how this country’s leaders should tackle the issue.  In light of the recent spike in gang violence in Belize, Doctor Gayle made an appearance on Open Your Eyes.  One point he made is that temporary clampdowns are not the solution to the issue of gang violence. 


Herbert Gayle

Dr. Herbert Gayle, Social Anthropologist

“Each country that endures State of Emergencies, you have enough people who believe in it. They are too educated to the damage it does over the medium and long term. So imagine that somebody has cancer and they get some morphine that is why it is called ‘morphinization’. They get some morphine and they feel so good that they put up their hands and say, “Nurse can I get some more morphine?” But, they are still waiting for the surgery. We are still waiting for the surgery, but the morphine feels so good that they become an addict. Caribbean people, let me just name the countries, Jamaica, Trinidad, Belize– three most violent countries in the region, all three countries are at this stage addicted to morphine, they are addicted to State of Emergency. You see, the people who don’t get restricted as much, they call for States of Emergencies. So we divide ourselves into inner city and outer city and the outer city people want the State of Emergency because they are not the ones restricted immediately. Then, a part of the inner city people want it because the last time it felt good. But, at the end of the day, your children still don’t have more food. They still don’t have a greater opportunity to go to school. Their parenting structures are shattered because the parents are all over the place trying to get a shilling, yes. And, the mess is still there.  If you arrest a hundred young men, one hundred young men will not stay in prison for the rest of their lives. Ninety- nine are going to return to the streets. When they return, there should be a system such as “Cure Violence,” something that has a mentor assigned to them to get them employed and into school or occupied in some way that is called redeployment. Then, their little brothers and sisters and mothers who depend on them for food, illegal food, let’s go again, there is mommy, the number one dependent on food from a criminal. Then there is sister and little brother. Those three are waiting on David; let’s call him David, for food. If you don’t have the redeployment of combatant, you don’t solve anything. Because, as soon as you bat your eyes, and as soon as soldiers and police get tired, they are going to ketch and kill.”

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