Crime Minister Dean O. Barrow!
Sunday, March 12, 2017, 17:39
““I am pleased to announce that the funding to set up our long awaited DNA lab has now been secured. To complete this forensic picture, a new, fully outfitted, top-of-the-line Scenes of Crime vehicle will be in country next month. It will have the refrigeration capacity, the kits and all the other tools to do onsite preliminary specimen analysis. Welcome to CSI Belize!”
~Dean Barrow, Independence Day Speech, September 21, 2011
The Barrow Administration’s crime fighting strategy has been a total and complete failure. Since taking office Dean Barrow’s UDP has seen crime spike to unprecedented levels: violence that has been fuelled by Barrow’s love affair with street gangs. The civil war murder rate has been further underpinned by the failure of the Crown to secure convictions. The Barrow Administration has reverted therefore to punishing accused criminals with extraordinarily long remand periods after which, with almost certainty, the cases fall apart in the Courts. Such is Barrow’s abject failure, that the legal term “Nolle Prosequi” has become a common phrase on the blood soaked streets of Belize.
The inability of the Crown to secure convictions has only emboldened the criminals and forced many law abiding citizens to seek street justice, further perpetuating the cycle of violence. On September 21, 2011, Dean Barrow boasted proudly “Welcome to CSI Belize.” We would later come to realize that this was just another one of his empty promises. The much bragged about DNA lab has yet to produce a single conviction; the scenes of crime vehicle has not deterred crime and “CSI Belize” is yet to arrive. Empty rhetoric is all that the Belizean people have gotten from Dean Barrow. Crazy Glue said it best: “all glitter and no substance.”
Dean Barrow and his unholy Cabinet have squandered more than $375 million in PetroCaribe loans and have nothing in terms of crime fighting success to show for it. In fact under his watch murders have remained consistently above the 100/year mark sustaining a bloody record well above UN defined civil war levels. When we look at those who have been victims of violent crimes it is clear that a disproportionate amount of those persons come from poor families. All this under the watch of a man who claims to be pro-poor. Six powerful Cabinet members from south-side Belize City yet the streets run red with the blood of the ghetto youth.
In 2012 the global average homicide rate stood at 6.2 persons per 100,000 population and by 2014 it had fallen to 5.3 persons per 100,000 population. Meanwhile in 2012 Belize showed an incredible homicide rate of 39 per 100,000 population: almost six and a half times the global average. Although by 2014 Belize’s average homicide rate had dropped a little to 33 persons per 100,000 population, our homicide rate was still well over six times the global average of 5.3 persons per 100,000 population. Over the period 2008 – 2012 a total of 622 murders were committed (145 - 2012; 99 - 2013; 121 - 2014; 119 – 2015 and 138 in 2016). Unfortunately 2017 promises more of the same as over the long weekend alone, Belize recorded four more murders. If we are to judge by the dismal conviction rate of about 5% for previous murders, we can say, with regret, that those responsible for these murders will escape justice.
Where does this cycle of violence leave our society? Violent death, as tragic as it is for the victim, is equally devastating to family and loved ones. Grieving families are often left with wounds that are unable to heal, especially when the perpetrators of the crime go unpunished. But the loss of our young people is also harmful to Belize’s development. A look at the homicide profile shows that victims are often males between the ages of 15 – 45: the productive segment of the population but also men of war fighting age. The long term damage to Belize’s ability to defend itself must therefore be of serious concern.
Mr. Barrow once famously said “Legacy dah fi when yo dead and I noh know how it can matter to you if yo dead.” Never mind his nonsense, he has tried his darnedest to be recognized as the greatest Prime Minister of this country. It was his concern about “legacy” that saw him call two elections well before the end of his 5-year mandate so that he could secure his “legacy” as the first PM to win three consecutive elections post-independence. Mr Barrow has his “legacy” alright. History will remember him as the PM who lost the Sarstoon; as the PM who acquired the BTL white elephant (a $100 million company he paid $557 million for); as the PM who for the first time since 1950 threatened the Belize dollar; and as the PM under whose watch more than 1,000 Belizeans lost their life without an iota of justice.
Enjoy your legacy Mr. Crime Minister!
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