BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 18, 2022– In the face of recent calls for his resignation by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow, after the country saw two murders in one weekend—that of 20-year-old Karina Andrews and 30-year-old Nimrod Fitzgibbons—Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kareem Musa, told local media last week that Hon. Shyne Barrow is “only doing his job.”
“Thankfully, I serve as Minister of Home Affairs at the pleasure of the real Leader of the House of Representatives, not the ‘play-play’ one. So if Shyne thinks that he can remove me, he needs to think again. But as a matter of fact, I think that he’s only doing his job, to be fair to him. He is an absentee politician—he does not stay in the country much—so he has to stay relevant and how best to stay relevant than putting out social media posts,” said Hon. Musa to 7News reporter Courtney Menzies.
In Hon. Barrow’s recent post, titled “Time for a New Police Minister”, he claimed that, since November 11, 2020 (when the current PUP government replaced a UDP administration), violent crime has gotten worse throughout the country, with the murder rate increasing exponentially.
“How many more murders before the Prime Minister finds a new Police Minister?” questioned Barrow, who then went on to state, “Every time, he [Musa] gives the Nation elaborate speeches about crime-fighting strategies, yet the murders continue to rapidly increase.”
Hon. Musa, however, has pointed to the complex root causes of crime, which are often inextricably linked with poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, politics, communities fighting over material resources, high cost of living, and the overall society. According to Hon. Kareem Musa, however, Hon. Shyne Barrow is fully aware of this fact and has even communicated this to Minister Musa.
“It is not as though he has not communicated to me that he understands the complexities of crime and how it has evolved so negatively, particularly in Belize City. He’s fully cognizant, and it’s not as though he’s not aware that his father and his uncle and the last administration really abandoned and neglected Southside Belize City, creating a dependency system that has really grown out of control. And so he knows—he well knows that we are working hard to try to fix this, because he is there at every single opportunity to take photos with me. When we’re at the prison, he’s there as well. So it’s not as though he does not recognize the problem that has been created over the last couple decades in Belize City, but I think it’s just a matter of him trying to remain relevant as an absentee area representative,” said Musa.
This is not the first time that the United Democratic Party has called for the resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs. In October 2021, after three murders were recorded in the country over the course of one weekend, a release issued by the party condemned the Minister for “a lack of control and direction in the prevention of violent crimes in the country.” The release also noted that in 2020, during which the UDP was in power for 10 out of 12 months, the country saw fewer violent deaths.
In reference to the calls for Minister Musa’s resignation, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has gone on record to express support for Musa, and has stated that crime is something that should never be politicized.