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Police Commissioner: Reforming gang members in the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU) are not a part of the recent spate of city violence

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2023. 10:05 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The brain child of Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa, the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU) combines employment opportunities with direct mentoring, counseling and other interventions to slowly transform the gang scene mainly on Southside Belize City.

But every time there is a surge in criminal activity and especially murder, the LIU model comes under attack for its effectiveness, or lack thereof.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police, said its members are held to a higher standard, and if they are suspected of slipping back into criminal activity, will not be spared – but the Department is reasonably convinced that those involved in the recent incidents are not LIU affiliated: “Those persons who are currently involved in the recent spate of shootings are not members of LIU. They are not a part of the LIU program and, to answer your question further, we have long maintained that even if you are a member of LIU, being a member of LIU is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. We expect that those persons who are members of LIU are going to hold themselves in a higher standard and when they do slip they, too, will face the wrath of the law.”

As previously reported, the Police are narrowing their focus to prominent figures, regardless of involvement in the LIU or not, who they believe may be involved in what is currently going on, maintaining the balance between removing those seeking trouble and encouraging those who want peace.

As for harsher measures such as a State of Emergency, the Commissioner made note that, “The law does not give us the authority to just lock up somebody or criminals because they believe that they are gang members. The law takes a certain course. As much as I wish that we can take them and lock them up, I don’t have that power and I cannot exercise powers that I don’t have. So we work within the confines of the law in ensuring that whatever we do is well within the law. And so, whenever we have these incidents we certainly will respond in whatever way we can, lawfully, and do what needs to be done to address the issue.”

He did add that sometimes he wishes for a sixth sense to know when crime might be happening, so that he could stop it and reduce activity to zero.

 

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