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Dec 14, 2022

Free Education in Belize City Stirring Gang Rivalries in Schools?

Chester Williams

One of the reasons cited for the decrease in violent crimes, particularly in Belize City, is the free education program implemented in four high schools. But, with progress comes its own problems. The increased access to education has funneled some not so well behaved youths into the school system, which has taken some street rivalries into the schools. ComPol Williams tells us more.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“We certainly do believe that parenting is an issue. The whole situation in terms of children not being in school who are supposed to be in school is an issue. The gangs are recruiting children more and more and more. I am happy to see that in beliefs. We have moved away from that to some extent. It there is, it is still there. But, when we have the pilot project with the free education on the outside that have increased enrollment in schools by almost double. So we have more children going to school now. But it has also triggered another problem where we’re seeing that we’re having a lot of fights in school. So that is another issue we’re trying to address now because we now have different characters and different groups in schools and so they are creating some sort of problems. We met with the principals in Belize City last week. We’re looking at a way how we can address the issue. We certainly don’t believe that. Removing the children from school is not the solution. We are going to see how we can help from the Police Department to ensure that it provides some level of policing to the school now where we are not there yet, where we can see we’re going to put a policeman at every school. But we certainly will try to use our community policing officers to be at schools, particularly when schools are letting out. And we’re going to make ensure we have patrols within the school area by the officers were patrolling the particular area while the students are being let out and we’re hoping that that will help to diffuse some of the issues. But again, parents need to play a more active role in speaking to their children, trying to raise their children to do the right thing.”

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