Belize City under state of emergency

August 1, 2023  -The Belizean capital has been placed under a state of emergency (SOE) as the government tries to halt relentless gang violence, which has resulted in numerous fatalities.

The decision was announced this week by Kareem Musa, the Minister of Home Affairs, at a press conference following a police raid that saw 25 individuals taken into custody.

Musa revealed that the resolution to enforce the SOE was finalized last week, with three areas having been placed under the SOE capturing the entire expansion area.

He described the decision as a challenging one, yet necessary in ensuring the safety and security of law-abiding citizens.

“The decision that was made, of course, was not an easy one, but it is of paramount importance that we provide safety and security for our law-abiding citizens and based on the intelligence that the police had been gathering, this decision had to be made for a state of emergency within this very limited area,” Musa said.

The capital’s latest murder cases

Regarding the latest four homicides in the capital, he voiced his certainty that charges would be laid in at least two or three cases.

He painted crime as a public health crisis and added that the state of emergency measures were necessitated by a small group causing large-scale disruption.

Scope of the state of emergency

Police Commissioner Chester Williams clarified that the SOE is not a blanket one where the authorities are “just picking up any and anybody from within those particular areas, but we do have a number of persons who are being targeted.”

Williams further defended the SOE, stressing the government’s responsibility to guarantee the safety of its citizens.

He confirmed that some of those apprehended during the recent operation are to face murder charges.

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