Posted: Thursday, June 3, 2021. 2:22 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: On the adjournment of Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives, area representative for Mesopotamia, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, rose to report some developments regarding the beginnings of a bipartisan effort to control and reduce crime, particularly in his constituency.
Barrow, citing his own legal issues in the past, told the nation and those of his constituents involved in criminal activity, “It’s not too late. It’s not too late to put down the gun, it is not too late to take advantage of the opportunities…”
Up to last week Friday there had been ten murders in eleven days and close to two dozen in the last month, many tied to gang rivalry. Mesopotamia is home to several of the largest and most influential gangs in Belize City including the George Street Gang and Taylor’s Alley Gang, which are believed to be in combat with each other.
Shyne gave his condolences to Raymond Garcia, Wayne Peteau, and Gerald Tillet, Jr., all recent murder victims in his constituency.
Barrow said he reached out to Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa and Commissioner of Police Chester Williams at the installation ceremony for Governor-General Froyla Tzalam on Thursday last, and said he received a commitment to make available opportunities for youth to have scholarships to ITVET to learn trades through the Ministry of Education, opening avenues for jobs and so on. He has also spoken to Minister of Sports and member for Orange Walk East, Kevin Bernard, and Mayor of Belize City, Bernard Wagner.
While some still ridicule him for pulling a gun in a New York City nightclub on December 27, 1999 (he says in self-defence), which earned him ten years in Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, New York, he says now: “I owned my mistake, and I use that today, Madam Speaker, as a tool of inspiration, to those young men, that being a ‘bad man’ is not your life’s aspiration; you can aspire to come to this honourable House of Representatives and pass legislation that will be for the benefit of the public…”
And while Barrow says he paid his price, he says for those who do not wish to take up the opportunities afforded them, there must be penalties, and the overwhelming perception is that “Murder is the easiest crime to get away with” and “no one is paying for all these murders that are taking place.”
It is not just Government and Opposition, he continued; the churches, the business community and the NGOs must join in and start to treat our human resources about as well as our natural resources, otherwise the cycle will continue and come ever closer to home.
Shyne hailed plans to protect witnesses testifying in court and the installation of cameras in and around the community, and called on the communities to end the ‘stop snitching’ phenomenon and “take back our communities.”
He concluded, “When I come here, it is not always to criticize the government; it is to also acknowledge when they are trying. But what I am saying is it is not enough to try for right now; we have to always try. Because those young men on the Southside in particular are an endangered species, and we need to do all that we can to protect them.”
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