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Aug 2, 2022

State of Emergency Declared to Quell Gang Flare-up in Lake-I

Thirty-one young men, described by police as active gang members in the Lake Independence area, have been locked away at the Belize Central Prison for the next thirty days.  Those individuals belong to the P.I.V. and Backalands gangs, rival groups that have been embroiled in a bitter feud for several years.  Tension between both gangs led to a spate of shootings, including the death of Darien Banks.  On Saturday morning, in the wake of the execution of Alrick Smith, another known street figure, a state of emergency was hastily called into effect for that community. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams and Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa discussed the recent S.O.E.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

Chester Williams

“Mr. Smith had just exited Love FM’s studio when he was ambushed by two men in a silver Equinox.  He was shot fatally and the persons managed to escape in the said vehicle.  Since then, we have been doing a lot to establish the identity of those persons who were in that particular vehicle, but at this time we have suspects, I am not going to reveal their names as yet because there is a lot more that we need to do to be able to ascertain or to obtain the evidence that would be needed to make an arrest.  But yes, in the wake of that, we did declare a state of emergency for the St. Martin’s de Porres area yesterday and a number of the gang elements from PIV and Backalands have been detained and are in police custody and they will be processed as we normally do with other previous states of emergency declared in Belize City.”

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“As you know, last week there was a shooting of a young man by the name of Tevin Cacho.  Thereafter he did not lose his life and thereafter we had two other shootings.  We had Mr. Darien Banks, who lost his life, and we had Mr. Alrick Smith, and I am not saying that those are related to a gang feud per se but it does in fact arise out of the same community.  The community is very tense, very volatile and on edge at the moment and like I always say, a state of emergency is not in any way a solution to crime but it is a pause button to stop the surge because the intelligence that we were gathering leading up to the, well after the murder of Mr. Smith is that tensions were very high and retaliations could be expected.  And so we thought it necessary to impose the state of emergency, a very limited state of emergency.  As I have been informed, I think thirty-one individuals have been picked up.  It could have been a very bloody weekend in the St. Martin’s area and we thought it very necessary to cool down the tensions and impose that state of emergency.”

 


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