Vice’s grip on Belize

September 11, 2018 Crime , North America , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

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By

Ricardo Swire

 

 

CARICOM’s English speaking member Belize is in a defensive position against increased shootings and violence plaguing south side Belize City. The country also struggles with an onslaught of drug trafficking, a common theme experienced by several Latin American countries, the US, United Kingdom and Canada. Belize and Canada jointly undertook “Anti-Crime Capacity Building Programs”, more than US$4 million channelled via Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department to help improve Belizean police and military efficiencies, reinforcement of the hard-line approach Belizean and US government officials promote to counter drug traffickers.

 

Belize shares its northern border with Mexico and the western perimeter with Guatemala that provides access to the Gulf plus several Caribbean islands. On Tuesday September 4, 2018 Belize’s Minister of National Security announced a thirty-one day State of Emergency, primarily in two gang dominated districts. The US State Department warned nationals visiting Belize to expect local law enforcement check points.

 

Belize is one of the region’s fastest growing American holiday destinations. In 2016 a record quarter of a million US tourists visited the CARICOM nation. A surplus of the Belize Police Force vehicles and weapons are provided by American aid programs. Britain has not fully embraced such militarized strategy, despite Belize’s place as a Commonwealth counterpart. Updated regional security intelligence data described pocketed gun violence in Belize City, six residents being shot and killed in one weekend.

 

As of December 2017 Belize’s overall murder rate was the third highest worldwide, such a figure tallying more than twice Chicago’s killings for the same period. Belize offers citizens three legal gun ownership provisions; The “Farm Shotgun” licensed for protection of livestock from predators and vermin on a farm, licensees can only remove these guns from the farms once annually, for relicensing at the district police station; A “Hunting Rifle or Shotgun” licence allows the holder to transport the gun openly while in a community, unloaded inside a carry case or wrapped in cloth; A “Special Protection” licence permits the bearer to carry a concealed sidearm or shotgun for security or self defence purposes.

 

On the night of July 17, 2018 a Belizean national security enforcement offensive, guided by active intelligence, intercepted one national and one Guatemalan on the eastern border in Melchor de Mencos, the same town where Tuesday February 13th 2018 the Guatemalan criminal character “El Gordo” and a female accomplice shot and killed a Belizean man from Benque Viejo Del Carmen. Law enforcers found the detained female assassin hid two damaged SIM cards in her mouth and a mobile phone in her female private part.

 

July 2018, Guatemalan and Belizean detainees illegally carried a AK47, a AR15 variant, seventy-five 7.62mm/5.56mm cartridges, thousands of dollars worth of Quetzal, Belizean and US currencies plus a consignment of marijuana. Belize’s marijuana boom was an unauthorized response to several years of sugar industry losses on the world market. Marijuana productions in Corozal and Orange Walk became the financially rewarding alternative crop.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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