BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 21, 2016–“We don’t need a Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), we need a Poverty Suppression Unit (PSU),” said Lake Independence’s area representative, Cordel Hyde, who slammed the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, at a PUP press conference on Wednesday, for his drastic crime-fighting techniques.
At a press conference held on Monday at the Biltmore Plaza, Saldivar announced that his Cabinet would expand and immediately strengthen the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) in response to the spike of crime that was experienced in the past few weeks.
Critics viewed Saldivar’s approach as a state attack on people of low socioeconomic status, as the GSU is focused squarely on blue collar crimes as opposed to white collar crimes committed by those of higher social standing.
Hyde, the PUP’s Deputy Leader, further stated, “The Minister of National Security says he’s going to beef up and renew the mandate of the GSU, but that’s not what we need, what we need is a poverty suppression unit; what we need to do is to ensure that our kids don’t go to bed hungry, to ensure they go to school every day. To ensure that no matter where you live, no matter who your parents are, no matter who they voted for that you have an opportunity to go to school, that you have an opportunity to stay in school which would then translate into better opportunities to you.”
Hyde further explained, “It’s not that the persons on Southside are some psychotic beings as the Prime Minister seems to think. It’s not that your son is different from my child or the child on the Northside is different from the child on the Southside or the Mestizo kid that joins a gang in Cayo is different from the Creole or Garifuna kid that joins a gang in Belize City. It’s not a biological difference; the problem is of social conditions, of social problems that we’re facing; it’s a poverty issue.”
With now increased poverty in urban areas, it is education and a war on poverty that will compel our young boys to be more than “desperate and aggressive.”
Hyde dwelled on the benefits of free education as he told the media that education isn’t just about making money but about improving the lives of people.
With an estimated 175,000 people struggling to feed themselves, Hyde shared, “No matter how many police officers you bring, no matter how many equipments you give, you have to do something different.”
It is left to be seen if Minister Saldivar will take any notes from the PUP’s Deputy Leader.