BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 24, 2022– Police were sent into high alert in the latter part of last week following a spike in murders within Belize City limits. On Thursday night, Michael Lambey was killed in the Jane Usher area; on Friday morning, Joseph “Tanga” James was executed following a court hearing; later on that same day, Leslie Gillett was killed in a shooting at Matilda’s Mini Mart in Burrell Boom (eerily, a double murder claimed the lives of two workers at that store late last year), and on Friday night, around 9: 30, Virgil Coburn was killed in Belama Phase 1. At this time, according to Commissioner of Police Williams, police have been actively working to bring the bloodbath under control and have so far been successful, with no new murder being recorded since Friday night.
He said that these recent spikes in crime across the country show that our people are becoming more violent and an interagency approach is needed to address the situation. Williams said that the Police Department can do its part, but without the help of the public, the crime and violence plaguing the country will not be holistically addressed.
“I don’t think anyone can say that there is nothing being done by the police, and even perhaps the government, in trying to address the issue of our youths on the streets, particularly in Belize City. Yes, from time to from we are going to have these flare-ups, and we always try our best to see what we can do to bring it under control, and I think that you guys can see for yourself that yes, we have been able to bring the situation under control.” Williams remarked.
He added, “When we look at the whole issue of these murders, I think we need to look beyond the police, because it is not that the police will know that a person is going to do a murder and just sit on our laurels and do nothing, but rather it goes to show that the nature of our society is changing. Our people is becoming more and more violent.”
This weekend there was in intervention coordination by the Leadership Intervention Unit. The COMPOL said that he was invited, but declined to sit and speak with the known gang leaders. He told local reporters, “All again, with an attempt to stop the bleeding, that we are seeing on the street of Belize City, the LIU brought together the different gang leaders and had a meeting with them. I was invited to that meeting and I told them that I was not going to attend that meeting, because I had no intention to meet with them. I simply told LIU to inform the gang leaders that if it is they continue with their problems, I will know what to do to address their issues.”
He said that the gang members had indicated a commitment to ensuring that “certain things would occur,” so they are waiting to see how things pan out.