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Commissioner of Police to Leader of the Opposition: ‘I question what [you] would regard as being successful [on crime]’

Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2023. 2:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: This week, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, addressing the Police Department’s plans for 2023 which has not gotten off to the best start after a string of murders over the New Year’s weekend, said that the Multi-Sectoral Approach to Crime instituted by the Government of Belize is still being rolled out.

He also questioned where Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow is coming from in suggesting that the effort has, in his view, failed thus far.

“We’re not going to say we have the answers to everything, but under [Minister of Home Affairs Kareem] Musa, we have established the Multi-Sectoral Approach to Crime which encompasses the [Leadership Intervention Unit] (LIU). While we do have the law enforcement aspect where officers go out and conduct raids based on intelligence, we conduct preventative patrols, we conduct checkpoints, we conduct highway patrols and these sorts of things to prevent crime from occurring…we also have the multi-sectoral approach where we get all the stakeholders to come to the table and to play their role in respect to the response to crime, to try to address the crime issue from the root causes,” the Commissioner explained, adding that other aspects from the strategy are to be rolled out this year outside of law enforcement and direct crime prevention.

As for the Opposition’s comments, the Commissioner recognized immediate predecessor Michael Peyrefitte as well as Musa for their work with him but insists that we are in a better place at the moment than under the previous administration with regard to murder: “if you were to look at the country’s murder rate per capita, you would see that it is actually the best we have had in over thirteen years under Minister Musa. So we’re out of the global top ten. So how can you justify that this minister under whom the crime trend is certainly going down has failed and when the others were there that were aligned with your party and we were above thirty murders per capita annually, to you they were successful and the one who has kept it below thirty is unsuccessful? I question what [you] would regard as being successful.”

While murders are indeed down, major crimes (robbery, burglary and theft and rape and unlawful sexual intercourse) rose to 1,035 with increases in every category except for murder, according to the Belize Crime Observatory.


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