Parliament watchers of more than just a few years would not have been overly shocked or surprised at the outcome of last week’s debate on the Anti-Gang Bill 2017.
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A bad year for murders
Trinidad and Tobago
Murders last year: 405
Murder rate per 100,000: 30
Change since 2012: Up six per cent
It’s been a bad year here for murders. We know the sad stories. What’s happening elsewhere? The murder stats below are from media sources.
Murders last year: 99
Murder rate per 100,000: 31
Change since 2012: Down 32 per cent
In 2012, Belize had a per-capita murder rate higher than Jamaica’s. Last year started with a January 8 massacre; four members of the hardcore George Street gang were knifed during the dead of night. Then the tide turned. The body count for 2013 was down one-third. What went right? Some give credit to the new police commissioner Allen Whyllie, installed one day after the Dean Street killings. He is low on charisma, but reportedly strong on admin; Belize City now operates precinct-based policing.
Meanwhile, some contractors with government work have gone labour-intensive and equipment-light. That means jobs for young unemployed from areas like Ghost Town in Belize City. This is hard physical work. Cisco Construction employs 200 men spreading clay landfill for the new Lake I Boulevard. They are paid by the truckload, not the hour. Says supervisor Allan Garbutt: “These guys, they really want to work. Even in this hot sun.”
“Dadda-D” Baptist of the Bravo team told Channel Seven TV: “It has to be unity, for us to work together…Out here is to make your money, and make sure Friday, when the evening set, you have a cold one in your hand.”