Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2021. 7:21 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Grandstanding though they might, this year’s murder figures, at least through September, are comparable to any under the United Democratic Party and even better in most cases, Home Affairs Minister Kareem Musa told the press on Wednesday.
“With the exception of 2019 and the anomalous year of 2020 with multiple states of emergency and lockdowns due to COVID-19, the murder count every year has been above 100 dating back to 2015. (We project that it will be so again this year, having been passed unofficially this week). And the UDP presided over the worst year in Belize’s history, with 147 murders in 2012,” Musa noted.
As for the Opposition’s spokesmen, Musa said neither had credibility – Elodio Aragon was presiding officer in Eastern Division in 2012 before leaving to pursue politics, and Peyrefitte was in charge in 2019 and 2020 – Musa joked that he’d asked for Peyrefitte’s resignation if he could win a seat in the House.
The Police Department has been putting in the work and should not be represented by their bad apples which are being rooted out one by one, Musa said, and their leaders are being constantly drilled on being more accountable.
Technology is starting to come into its own, with access to cell phone messages and surveillance cameras, and Musa said it will assume a bigger role.
“78 percent of all crimes that are now being solved are being solved with the assistance of technology. And so going into the future, as I have always said, innovation and technology are where we need to transform, where we need to pivot the future of the Police Department,” he explained.
Musa noted that this year has been exceptional for the age of murder and shooting victims – Laddie Gillett, Kassman Gill, Dwayne Gabourel – and six more over the course of the year. How do we protect our children from gun-toting criminals and occasionally police officers?
For instance, Police Corporal Martinez, the accused killer of Gillett, was charged and convicted on disciplinary measures but not dismissed from the Department. It took the Commissioner of Police’s decision to dismiss him, which is now being challenged, he revealed. Compare that, he said, to the case of Allyson Major, whose alleged killer was never charged internally. Musa said he backed the Commissioner’s decision 100 percent on this and other similar dismissals.
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