Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2022. 9:05 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Appreciating the possibility of retaliation for the murders of Darren Banks and Alrick Smith near the end of July, a state of emergency for parts of the Lake Independence constituency was created by the Governor-General, complaints from both the area representative and the Opposition notwithstanding.
Such protocols are normally in place for 30 days with an option to extend, and while there have been no murders in Belize City for the first half of August, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa is leaving nothing to chance.
Asked for an update on Tuesday during a Zoom interview, he repeated that this is not the first, nor the last, or even the only solution to quell tensions: “I don’t want to say that the SOE is a solution. I don’t want to ever be misconstrued as saying that. It is just that the intelligence and information that the department was receiving at the material time suggested that there was going to be a series of retaliations and we had a duty and obligation to stop that from taking place. We still have interventions going on; Mister [William] Dawson from the LIU [Leadership Intervention Unit] continues to do his work – he and his team – and I want to thank him for his work, but at the end of the day, it depends how you measure the success of an SOE. At the end of the day, it has served its purpose in my opinion in quelling the violence at least temporarily. It’s not a fix, but hopefully cooler heads can prevail and when the young men are released at the end of the month, hopefully, there is no retaliation.”
As many as 31 people were held at the start of August. Musa said several others were released after the initial sweep which concerned members of the Peace in the Valley (PIV) and Backaland Crips (BLC) gangs and their alleged associates.
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