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‘We have to change the mindset of the police that we don’t fight crime with brutality,’ says Prime Minister John Briceño

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Posted: Friday, August 20, 2021. 9:59 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: ‘We have to change the mindset of the police that we don’t fight crime with brutality,’ Prime Minister John Briceño in reference to the shooting of Laddie Gillett and the police pepper-spraying youths.

Talking on Love FM’s Morning Show on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Briceño said the fight against crime is going to take time and it has to be attacked from different angles.

He said the police have to deal with the criminal gangs who are concentrated in a small drug-trafficking area of Belize City.

“The Commissioner has been talking to some of these so-called gang leaders and trying to get them to hold it down, and calm down the thing, but they seem to be on a death wish, they are going at one another,” the Prime Minister said emphasizing that a harder approach might be necessary.

Other than that, the PM said they are also looking at reforming the Police Department.

“For a police department to be successful in fighting crime, they also have to get the community on their side but unfortunately some of the actions some of our cops have taken, they are not helping. When they shot this young boy, poor Laddie [Gillett] that night, you know. I mean, it’s so questionable that a police would be shooting at a 14-year old boy who was running away. When they were not really … just breaking curfew, that’s not good enough in my mind to take out a gun and shoot.

“Or when you saw over the weekend when these cops, the kids were just saying ‘Weh we do wrong kind of thing’ and then pepper spray them in the eyes. That does not help.”

But he said he commended the Commissioner and the Minister Musa for immediately taking action and immediately suspending the offending officers. He added that Minister Musa said they had identified at least ten rogue cops and are looking for more.

That’s when he said that they have to change the mindset of the police, that we don’t fight crime with brutality, that we have to get the community to be a partner.

Additionally, the Prime Minister said that we have to ensure that our children stay in school and not follow the older guys. He added that we have to look at the Southside of Belize City differently.

“The Southside is going through a crisis, a socio-economic crisis that is more severe than the rest of the country. Probably we may need to pilot our free education in that area … ensure that all of these kids go to school. We need to fight crime,” the Prime Minister Briceño said.

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