South side Belize City under State of Emergency

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The entirety of South side Belize City is currently under a 30-day State of Emergency (SOE) which came into effect at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7. The proclamation was signed by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, at the advice of our Minister of National Security, Sen. Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, and Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, due to the recent spate of murders and other crimes. The brazen robberies, instances of extortion on the part of gang members, and consecutive murders have become burdensome to the Ministry of National Security and all its security forces. According to Minister Peyrefitte, intelligence has suggested that the recent murders of Raheem Faber and Raheem Myles, which the police have determined to be connected, would only result in further bloodshed. It is to curb that possibility that the SOE was enacted. Minister Peyrefitte, COMPOL Williams, and ACP Marco Vidal, Commander of Operations, all shared the same sentiments when the SOE was announced: that no lawlessness will be tolerated.
From the start of the SOE, 3:00 a.m. July 7, up until 11:00 a.m. that same morning, a number of security personnel from both the Belize Defence Force and the Belize Police Department were seen mobile and active on our streets. They descended into various areas where at least ten gangs are known to gather and from that ten, they focused mostly on the Ghost Town and South Side gangs and their immediate affiliates. As many as 99 known criminal gang associates were picked up during that time, as well as gang evidence including drugs, weapons, and ammunition. These were seized and deposited for review by the Anti-Gang Task Force. A number of persons were found attempting to flee the city’s limits but were taken into custody. ACP Vidal says that known persons have gone into hiding but are being pursued by the police.
This follows a recently lifted SOE which we endured due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that SOE, however, in February and March, a number of persons were detained due to a series of murders and crimes in which both adults and children were victims. That SOE was to be extended but due to COVID-19, it was not possible. ACP Vidal stated that if there is the need for an extension for this current 30-day SOE, that will take place. There has been the expression that persons, who had been detained in the March SOE, and who have been walking a straight line since, will be spared from this SOE. Those who are persistent, conversely, will be put away.