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Aug 5, 2022

PM Says Hopkins Mass Shooting was “UnBelizean”

The news of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in the Garifuna community of Hopkins cast an air of fear over the village and shock across a country that had only seen that level of terror play out once in 2008.  Today, the media caught up with Prime Minister John Briceño at an event at the Best Western Belize Biltmore and asked him to weigh in on the attack that claimed two lives and left eight others wounded, including three police officers and a fifteen-year-old girl.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“I don’t think I could really find adequate words to express just the horror of what happened in Hopkins. It’s something that’s so unBelizean. It’s something that in our mind, that just doesn’t happen here. But maybe it could be now the advent of the international media from watching international TV, it’s starting to change the mindset of some of our young people. I’ve always said I feel very strongly that we have to go very hard at crime. We have to go hard at the criminals, and it seems that the police moved very quickly. They managed to get the person who was driving the get-away car and it seems that, based on the evidence, they managed to find the three persons that committed the crime, it seems. I want to make sure that we get the best prosecutors to go after them, and if it’s left up to me, they should not see the light of day. They should be locked up for the rest of their lives – and to point out to other criminals that we will go after them. As it is right now, we are using more technology within the Police Department. We’re starting to work on putting up more cameras. We have a loan with CABEI that will allow us to put more cameras in the hotspots, especially in Belize City. We’re getting body cameras for the police officers also, so when they’re out there, they could (A) know that they can’t misbehave and (B) if people are misbehaving that we can capture that. We’re hiring a few more police officers and we’re ensuring that these police officers are capable, that they’re trainable and that they are able to do the work. But that is only one part of the equation. The other part is the social aspect of it, that there seems, especially among some of our young people, a total breakdown in the social fabric, in the way they think and they behave. That is why we are saying that we have to invest in education. As it is right now, we’re starting the program in the south side of Belize City, where it’s a small geographic area but where we have some of the most challenging social issues, to ensure that these kids can stay in school, that we could pay all their fees and their school books and everything to keep them in school. So we’re doing everything possible to address it from both angles.”

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