General — 30 April 2014 — by Kareem Clarke

PM says they are using the “carrot-and-stick” approach to deal with the escalating gang warfare

The escalation of crime, specifically murders and shooting incidents in the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City, presents a dangerous situation which has been a source of concern not only for area residents and Belize City police, but apparently also for Prime Minister and Queen’s Square area representative, Hon. Dean Barrow, who said that a meeting was scheduled to take place with the relevant gang personalities today in an effort to take hold of rising tension between streAet elements which control the affected neighborhoods.

After exiting a formal event in Belize City this afternoon, Prime Minister Barrow explained that apart from amplifying the police presence, buying additional police weapons and equipment and posting a mobile police unit in the area, law enforcement authorities are also seeking to address the root cause of the problem by applying methods of conflict resolution.

He said, “There is a meeting taking place this afternoon between some of the principals from the Jane Usher Boulevard area and from other areas so that the carrot-and-stick approach – or the effort to go at this thing from several different directions – might be employed as a way of dealing with the situation.

So, even as the police are stepping up their enforcement actions in the area, an effort is being made to talk through the situation with the gang leaders [or] the principals to see if some kind of ceasefire might be mediated.”

Although the conciliation effort isn’t regarded as another gang truce since the incidents are mainly concentrated in one area, it reportedly included personalities from the warring gangs across the city from such areas as Supal Street, George Street, PIV, Jane Usher Boulevard, Louise Bevans and Victoria Streets.

We have not been able to talk with the officer who led the meeting, Deputy Commander of Belize City’s Eastern division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, because he was in another meeting at the time, but we understand that the groups who attended agreed on a ceasefire.

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