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Jan 12, 2011

Restore Belize workshop; strategy to curb crime underway

mary vasquez

Restore Belize was established in June 2010 as a crime reduction initiative to operate from the Office of the Prime Minister.  The program became necessary since violent crime has been consistently increased over the past decade.  A workshop to formulate a strategy has been underway all week and it is being attended by the Minister of Police, the Commissioner of Police, and Restore Belize representatives.  Jamaican Social Violence Anthropologist Herbert Gayle has been invited to return to Belize to brief the participants on his four hundred page report into the violence plaguing the country.  Restore Belize’s Mary Vasquez says that they have also had the help of a consultant.

Mary Vasquez, Program Director, Restore Belize

“We spoke with the UN agencies and UNICEF stepped forward and said we will fund this exercise so with support from UNICEF we were able to hire a Consultant, Adele Catzim Sanchez who has decades of experience in  development planning, in social policy and in community engagement in Belize. So she is the person who is drafting this plan for us. But concurrent with the start of our planning process, the release of several important documents also came about. To be specific we are looking at the Gayle report, the male social participation and violence study that was done by Doctor Gayle and a team of Belizean researchers. The final report came out. We have the census being completed. We have the report card on where Belize is in reaching millennium development goals, where Belize is in completing the national plan of action for children and families. So we have several current studies that we can lean on to direct our activities and to focus on their areas that are more urgent in addressing the root causes of crime. So to assist in this process, to energize this process and to ensure that we are taking into account the very import results by Doctor Gayle and his team, we invited him as a co-facilitator this week to work with us, to meet with key decision makers and policy makers as well as practitioners on the ground to talk about how we can reduce the violence, where does the violence begin, at what age does it begin, at what age are we really starting to see we are forming this person into a very aggressive lifestyle. So we are looking at that and what is most urgent that we can do now to address the severe problem of violence that we are experiencing.”

Dr. Herbert Gayle, Social Anthropologist

Herbert Gayle

“I think it is tremendous that there is an NGO in our secretariat that can work with a mega research because as you know this is a four hundred page report covering the pillars of development because we treat in the study violence as a byproduct of the social ills within the society. So we don’t treat violence as the end in itself because it is not. Therefore the aim right now is to produce the matrices or the action plan for the next five years to see how we can deal with the social ills and the central political authority problems—meaning the whole matter of governance and policing and civil society and judiciary and how we can change those to put them on a plane whereby once we fix those, the murder rate itself would go down because it is a consequence of all of these problems rather than an end in itself. So that’s what we are doing. We are putting some plans for intervention.  As you know, there is a problem with intervention—lots of planning but not intervention. So this is about planning for intervention—not just objectives which are lofty, but plans that have deadlines of time, the scope; how much can we do by that time, by what time and where we’re gonna be doing it to get the thing done.”

If all goes according to plan, a strategy for the implementation of Restore Belize should be in place by February.

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12 Responses for “Restore Belize workshop; strategy to curb crime underway”

  1. rootsman says:

    Put it whichever way you want however in my opinion the greatest effect on crime in the way the government operates, their behavior has set the pattern for the society and they are closely following suit.

  2. vigilante justice 316 says:

    Thank God someone is trying to do something about this. It’s just barely two weeks into the new year and already three murders have been reported. Social reform is necessary and we need to start with the youth in school. We need to make sure that someone is teaching them what social behavior is acceptable just incase they are not getting taught at home.

  3. Maria Marshall says:

    Dr Herbert Gayle seems knowledgable and with experience in the work he’s doing.
    AS the crime rate in Belize rises, those in authority try their best to find ways of curbing it, but still it continues to rise, and with horrific consequences..
    Dr. Gayle speaks of “intervention.” A new concept in tackling this crime problem which is causing heartbreaking distress and unrest in our Belizean society. I hope it works.
    Thank you Dr. Gayle.

  4. Earl Grey says:


    CONDUCT STUDIES?????????


  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why do we as Belizeans always have foreigners incharge of everything we do?Why don’t Dr Gayle tell you all that some of these Jamaican artist that are being promoted in Belize every so often with their violent music content also contribute to the crime situation.


    Again, lots of planning but not intervention. when? how long more?

    This plan was not rendered as an emergency in 2010; a plan still lingering in the dust on the table, this plan should have been confirmed at least by last December of 2010, which action could have helped saved the teen murdered this week. Time is ticking away; someone is not going to make it this week. Enough talking, !@#$ is coming out of my ears even across the borders.

  7. REGGIE says:

    Money going down the drain.Dr,Gayle is making a name for himself.The G.O.B. is wasting the money they should be taking care of the poor with, Dr.Gayle has been in Belize for a while and we get no result.Not Because he is a Socila Anthropologist mean he is smart.If he was such a great guy bye now Belize Crime rate would have been down.To solve the priblem with the crime rate the G.O.B. should buy out the George St. areaa and develope it and give the poor people land in different area of the country.50% of the youth can’t get job.My advice to them is to go and protest the Oil Company who is reaping their future due to politician.the trip to miami he coudh have feed some kids for a year with that money,and he still had to used the phone to buy time for the boat owner.Have anyone every check and see what happen to a country that Black Priminister or President is in charge .Don’t look at America they have things in place.They all go under.And is always waiting for someone to help them.

  8. Sugar says:

    With Jamaica having one of the worse track records in murder, why the hell are we bringing in consultant from there??? how stupid can we be?? find a country with a desireable record and lets find a consultant from there? we need people who will take action, not just sit around in nice suits and shoot lots of hot air. Let him stay in jamaica and help there with their situation….sounds like the other police “expert” that was brought in who eventually jumped off the ship but was caught……and he wrote the Belize police ‘bible’

  9. FEDUP says:

    another $#%^ workshop really, Ms Vasquez Mr Gayle and Ms Catzim making huge monies while the killing continues. we definately don’t need another workshop on this issue. lets start doing practical tangible things with that money, how about getting the “ROOF” fixed so that the police station that has been closed down for 2 months can again be functional, how about better and brighter lights on our streets, how about hiring a real forensic pathologist, how about more patrols in the residential areas of the city, where was this body found, near some of the most affluent homes in the city. we can start this today if we are serious we surely dont need another workshop to promote institutional capacity and sensitize stakeholders and all that crap

  10. analyst says:

    the spin doctors of GOB are trying to play down the crime rate in Belize.. 132 or 129 it is still among the highest in the world. if you break it down by districts, Belize district having reported 85 murders in 2010 and having a population of 103,000 according to the SIB website. we are way up there with MOgadishu and Caracas and New Orleans. deadliest cities in the world

  11. BZNinCALI says:

    @Reggie, Belize is not crime ridden because we have a Black Prime Minister, the murders have gone on for years & his predecessor was nothing to be proud of either. Parents have to do their jobs, our young men have to be taught that nobody have baby fi dey, they are fathers & should step up & act like men, marry the mothers & raise their own children. We have enough problems as a nation, bigotry is not going to help it.

  12. BZNinCALI says:

    Maybe we can take Earl, Oscar965 & OW Resident’s advice & develop our agriculture & use tourism as . We must stop taking money from countries who oppose the death penalty, especially if that help is contingent on us trying to reform our criminals. We cannot continue to be a social experiment, it is killing us & the culture of openness that many of us grew up with.

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