The news that a hard-working family man, entrepreneur and community icon was callously murdered as he closed up his business for the night shocked the community of Ladyville and the entire nation. Another life lost to senseless violence in a country whose law-abiding citizens have lost any sense of security and safety years ago. It is not the first time this has happened, and sadly it will not be the last.
While the Minister of National Security, Attorney General and UDP Chairman Michael Peyrefitte goes on TV and makes cute comments which end up on T-shirts, residents live in fear. Belizeans are not safe in their businesses, not safe on the streets and not safe in their homes. Every single day now the news is full of crime – people beaten up and robbed in their homes, bodies lying on the streets, families grieving. The UDP in its 12 years in office has done nothing to fight crime in the nation. They have totally neglected the people, lost in their own greed and corruption.
It is little wonder that criminals feel that they can operate with impunity in Belize. No less than the Prime Minister was found guilty of breaking the law in the Supreme Court and has refused to obey the order of the Court. The Prime Minister has brazenly and boldly refused to obey judgments from the highest court in the country, the Caribbean Court of Justice. That is the example which is being set for the young generation, many of whom have lost their fathers and loved ones to the same violence which has become an endless cycle.
Belizeans have stood and watched as Cabinet Ministers have been named in scandal after scandal, with accusations of corruption levied against them. And not one of them has had to face justice. Former UDP Minister Elvin Penner never faced justice for selling our Belizean birthright. Not one UDP minister has faced any kind of justice for the blatant and rotten corruption in the Immigration scandal. Gaspar Vega has never faced any justice for grabbing land from the Belizean people so he and his family members could get rich. John Saldivar has not faced any justice, at least not yet, for his dirty deeds. And the list goes on and on and on.
Under this UDP administration, there has been no real move to fight crime by addressing the issues which affect those most at risk. Instead, the UDP, without a clue what to do, has started imposing States of Emergency whenever there is a sudden surge in crime.
Instead of providing a proper budget and resources to our Police Department, the UDP has completely politicized and manipulated the department. In 2008, Dean Barrow promised a forensic and DNA testing facility. Twelve years later, he is still promising the same thing. Instead of getting serious about crime which has become a scourge in this country under the UDP, the people are given a set of jokers as Ministers of National Security. From John Saldivar, who is now supposedly under investigation by the same Police Department for which he was a Minister, the people now have to deal with the biggest joke of all, Michael Peyrefitte.
It is time for a real change in Belize, where citizen security can once again be assured. It is time to take back the country from the criminals, particularly those criminals at the highest levels of government. Don’t grieve Mr. Barrow. It is time for you and your corrupt Cabinet to leave.