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Dec 7, 2010

Dr. Herbert Gayle’s Comprehensive Crime Report released

Since the release of the well known Anthropologist, Dr. Herbert Gayle’s detailed social research into Belize’s ever-present crime situation, there have been mixed reactions about the preliminary findings. The comprehensive report has now been released and the research highlights that the social state of the country is in decay. The four hundred page report of which more than half is presented in summary takes a critical look at the problem of crime and violence within the context of the wider Belizean society. The relevant government and non-government agencies will have to meet to look at recommendations as early as January to chart a way forward beginning with the implementation of an annual or biannual plan to address the problem.  Dr. Gayle spoke with News Five today and shared his personal response to the findings.

Herbert Gayle, Anthropologist of Social Violence

herbert gayle

“I think what bothered me the most though was the fact that Belize City, I found to be the most dangerous place in the Caribbean to raise a child. Because it is so small, we found that ninety-nine percent of all children we studied were traumatized by violence, compared to fifty-odd percent in Jamaica. And people will say how is this possible given that Belize is ranked tenth most violent country in the world; Jamaica is ranked second. But the point is the space called — area, has one point one million people and it thirty-six miles to drive cross it. Belize City is six square miles. Its so very tiny, sitting on this very delicate delta and it means therefore that, if something happens over here because many of the people are related, either the child is going to end up seeing the dead body or they will be affected. So we found that small amounts of violence can impact Belize City tremendously.

Homicide rate this year is going to be over a thirty-five. We got a hundred and twenty, we can extrapolate. We can divide that into three hundred and twenty thousand people which is the extrapolated population of Belize right now. Thats gonna run you up to about thirty-six. Thats going to take you down to number seven or eight in the entire world. This is a big jump from tenyou dont want to get into the top five because when you get into the top five youre gonna have impacts on tourism, youre gonna have impacts on everything. Once Europol or Interpol list you as being in the top five, youre gonna find yourself in a completely different ballgame.”

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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19 Responses for “Dr. Herbert Gayle’s Comprehensive Crime Report released”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Many of us without a Doctorate have said the same things for a few years now. I hope that this will give the people in charge the push they needed to make some even tougher decisions to bring about change.

    How does the public get a copy of this report?

  2. rod says:

    this is happening because we have a gov that is useless impotent and corrupt plain and simple end of story worse gov in the history of belize they need to go now before the country plunges into the abyss never to return wake up people wake up there is a new smell in the air .

  3. GUINEA GRASS Observer says:

    @BZNinCALI You can access the comprehensive report on Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize at

  4. coral Black says:

    Poverty is the reasons! Why is it that you people play deff dumb and blind to
    this situation. Ask the Dean he got briefing on this matter when he had his little
    secret meeting with (george bush) just before he took office. Now his son ran over
    to Israel instead of trying to help clean up that mess going on in the country he help
    influence with this bad boy rap $hit. Ever wander why they need all these bodyguards
    around them,but it’s not their body they should worry about,they should be worried about their
    soul,because what is about to go down, not the Queen, President ,or these Dracon can prevent.
    (YHWH Elyon) created all things for himself even the wicked for the day of destruction. Power to the People Mind Control, Mind Control, Mind Control, Mind Control, Mind Control

  5. RUCELLI says:


  6. Dr. John says:

    Dr. Herbert has done some extensive and good work. Hopefully it will serve as hard evidence of our problems which we were already aware of. Like any other research document it is not to be taken as gospel. Instead, it is up to the logical thinkers in Belize and abroad who truly know the Belizean story and I mean our own brilliant minds and educators, our Belizean historians and economists especially UWI graduates to analyze this work and take a serious look at the many issues raised. Let us “extrapolate” what we need from it to help our youths. We will know the details that are erroneously misinterpreted and unlikely because we live in Belize and Ph.D. or no Ph.D., he whom feels it knows it. Many British and American Anthropologists have ventured into Jamaica to write books about their ghetto culture, reggae and of course Bob Marley. A Jamaican reading those books can point and know where thoughts and facts are wrong, biased or misconstrued. It seems that lately some of Dr. Herbert’s comments to the media are opinionated and subjective rather than objective. In other words he is making some claims to which he has not provided proof as there has been no research to which he can compare his results and arrive at such conclusions. I do hope that the scientific method is preserved in his work but only the pages will tell. This is probably an extension of his passion for his work but anyone from Kingston, Jamaica who says he would rather raise his child in Kingston rather than Belize City obviously doesn’t know our Belize and needs to be better informed not through questionnaires or culturally biased interpretations but rather through living our experience. Belize has always been poor, we are richer than we were 30 or 40 years ago when we didn’t have violence, the burden of convicted deportees in a broken legal system, the gangs of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who have figured out that drugs are more easily transported through our youths and country to the largest consumer of narcotics in this world….anyway, I could go on and on but I am not trying to write or sell a book.

  7. Sf says:

    Guess this da wa other harold crook riteya.. sooon we wa hear some country the look fi he.

  8. rootsman says:

    The report is a good thing to have it all documented, guess the world can now have a more exact view on Belize and it’s crime situation maybe we can now get some international help if the GOB will request it, if not they have just wasted money on commissioning this work since we all knew that the problem existed and that the police department and corruption in government played a big role in all this

  9. Dr. John says:

    @ Sf…we have to embrace those who find our society interesting and take the time to study our people, I’d rather be poor in Belize than poor in Jamaica or Trinidad any day….My dollar is 2 to 1 US, the Jamaican dollar is 90 to 1, poverty is relative.

  10. CHARLIE PRICE says:

    me no know bout unnu but dis ya man look scurvy to me. lol lol lol. he look like an ordinary joe like sarah palin and john mcain’s joe the plumber

  11. CHARLIE PRICE says:

    @ Dr John


  12. K says:

    Dr John and the other blind observers… Research is about systematic investigation. If you are not a researcher or have never done research (scientific, sociological, psychological or education research) you have no idea what you are talking about. For the very fact that you live in the environment it will be hard for you to understand the process of systematic data collection and interpretation. Your views are biased. I would challenge you to collect the data yourself and perhaps you would understand better what this means.

    We have all observed the regression of Belizean society. Start by identifying those kids that are in high school, sixth form and university. Education is one of the predictors of the strength of your economy which determines the middle class and your poverty level. Education is knowledge and a better awareness of community, government, religion. Education is also power which means that you can challenge, question and keep your public officials accountable. In this way, your public officials are more likely to do the right thing and serve the people who elected them. Without educated citizens, the poverty levels and the violence will increase. Note that these actions are also related to the corruption level of govt officials. Its all related…

  13. Al says:

    Poverty does contribute to crime, but there were poor people when I was growing up and crime was not this bad. The problem is the parents are not doing their share of raising their children. There needs to be a move to give birth control to women who just have to have sex, so they stop dropping these children they cannot raise. I have read so many articles about single mother with 8 children. Why would a single woman have 8 kids and then want the government to help her with the children. Where are the men who dropped the babies. The citizens need to do their part.

  14. Nick Pollard, Jr says:

    I foresaw this crisis from the early 1980s; and it is not about poverty…not so. It’s about a country in denial. We came from the world’s 3rd largest producer of marijuana in the early 1980s to a transhipment point of cocaine which created gangs with territories protected by corruption and guns. In his address in the late 1980s, Chief Justice George Brown warned of the many young men that were abandoned by parents that migrated to the U.S.A. Today those young men are well-entrenched in the underworld. With a corrupt police force and crumbling judiciary faced by many nolle pro sequis, many more innocent people will die and many more young ones will be left as traumatized orphans.

  15. Paco Smith says:

    I know Dr. Gayle is a “qualified” anthropologist, but I found the views he expressed in the interview to be more subjective, than anything else. I give mention of this because for a researcher to assign such definitive terms to his observations, just doesn’t seem appropriate. For example and I quote, “… what bothered me the most though was the fact that Belize City, I found to be the most dangerous place in the Caribbean to raise a child. Because it is so small, we found that ninety-nine percent of all children we studied were traumatized by violence, compared to fifty-odd percent in Jamaica….” What I find so disturbing about his “comparison” is that at least in the interview (as presented), he appears to be comparing Belize City to Jamaica…not a major city like, Kingston? I have been to Kingston and based on my “unqualified” viewpoint, the levels of violence in that city far outdistance what we have in Belize City.
    Is it that he is/was comparing apples and oranges? Maybe I misread, but even yet, is he trying to say that Belize City’s crime is worse than those experienced throughout Jamaica? I may be a layman, in comparison to Dr. Gayle, but common sense dictates, that simply cannot be the case. Could it be that Dr. Gayle has a flare for the sensational (hopefully, not at our expense)? Or is it something altogether, different? I am basing these questions off what he stated in his interview.

    Let it be known that I respect research, but the manner in which he stated matters, is what concerns me. Honestly, Belize City is not as it once was, but in comparison to some other regional destinations, where the population is most densely populated, I still don’t subscribe to Dr. Gayles’ assertion that [he] “…found Belize City to be the most dangerous place in the Caribbean to raise a child”. My question is, where else has he conducted such an in-depth study? I’m not trying to make this a Belize vs Jamaica thing, but let’s be real. I found his interview to be overly hyped and sensationalised.

    Dr. Gayle alludes to some of the atrocious things that he uncovered during the study. He even states, in very definitive terms that some of it had to be reduced, due to its graphic nature. Given the definitiveness of what he said, it causes me to question whether had he conducted a similar study in Jamaica (i.e. Kingston), would he have reached a different conclusion? For example, #1 I strongly believe that even mentioning Belize City in the same breath with the ‘garrison communities’ in Kingston is a stretch. #2 Given the governance structures which solely define the garrisons , in order to have conducted such research, he would have had to receive “permission” from the powers-that-be (e.g. the Dons), in order to enter the area, let alone question the residents. Do you see where I’m coming from? To my knowledge, I don’t think such is the case in Belize. #3 Given the clandestine/authoritative nature of the garrison communities, do you think had he gained entrance to them, that its resident’s would have spoken freely concerning the atrocities they are made to endure on a daily basis? I certainly don’t think so. For those of us who have been to Kingston, we know that garrisons are “closed” communities and with that in mind, how much truthful and objective information could actually be compiled regarding such a topic? In all, I believe that for Dr. Gayle to make such a conclusive statement regarding Belize City, it is extremely biased and short-sighted because plausibly speaking, in the case of Kingston’s garrison communities, and their pervasive elements, I would dare say that even attempting to do such a presumed “in-depth” research (there) is questionable. Simply put, at least he could access these communities in Belize City, in Kingston it might not have even been possible. Hence the question; Which do you believe is “the most dangerous place in the Caribbean to raise a child?”; Areas that are controlled by Dons with impunity in Kingston or the disenfranchised communities which comprise Belize City? Let’s be real.

  16. commenter says:

    I agree with Paco!

  17. Dr. John says:

    K, I can tell you have education and don’t know how to use it. That will be your demise and remember I am the one that said it to you first. You are right “education is power which means that you can challenge, question and keep your public officials accountable.” Education also means that you can question people that make claims about this country that are based on numbers that come from less than 15% of its population and less than 1/200 its geographical size…I challenge you to challenge yourself and don’t become an educated puppet. Our country doesn’t need any more of those.

  18. Public Defendah says:

    Adele Ramos of the Amandala did an excellent report including Dr. Gayle’s clarification of his “subjective views.”

  19. Iman says:

    Its amazing that a government that has a police force, BDF have a handfull of raggamuffins telling the government what they are going to do. What type of wishy washy government we have. Sometimes a government have to sacrifice a few for the betterment of the nation, but we do not have men with Balls from any of the political parties to make the hard decision. We need real strong leadership for our country, i would love to invest in my country but who can with the streets being run by gangs and not the government. Belize will get worst with the choice of political parties we have to choose from.

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