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Belize escapes October without any further murders, but not time to celebrate yet, say Commissioner and Minister

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries

Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2023. 8:33 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: As last week proved, anything can derail a successful month as far as crime is concerned.

Belize appeared to be cruising to just a single murder recorded at the end of October – that of Trenton Webster on Rasta Street for which the perpetrator had been caught the following weekend – but a triple murder on Ambergris Caye late the following Sunday night and then a double murder at a farm in Hattieville on the following Tuesday morning dazed observers and quickly put Police back on the defensive.

Still, with 75 murders reported for the year so far, Belize remains on pace to dodge the century mark for the first time in 16 years, and major crime figures are keeping pace with last year without surpassing them.

So can the leadership of the Belize Police Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs pat themselves on the back for making a dent in crime three years into the John Briceno administration ahead of the next election cycle?

Not yet, said Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs on Tuesday – there is still work to be done: “No doubt it is one of the most difficult ministries to manage; I think any minister would acknowledge that. But certainly, so long as there is progress, so long as I have the commitment of all of the police officers, I am confident that the numbers will continue to go down – not just in the number of plane landings, but also in the number of murders, in the number of violent crimes and of course in other crimes: petty theft, robberies, burglaries. These are all things we are focused on day in and day out. And so we still are on a trajectory to have a record-breaking year, I think, since 2007. And so, while it is a moment to celebrate, we cannot at any point say let us celebrate this victory. We have to keep pushing and keep bringing those numbers down.”

Likewise for Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I don’t want to celebrate just yet. …we just have to ensure we keep our feet on the gas pedal and do what needs to be done in executing our policing plans. At the end of the day, as an organization, we strive to make sure that we make our citizens safe. … the reason for that is because a life lost really takes a toll on a family and so we try our best to preserve life. And then the other types of crimes would then fall afterward.”

 

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