Leader of opposition extends helping arm

Following Tuesday’s four-way murder that left downtown Belize City in a state of emergency, the leader of the opposition, People’s United Party (PUP),  Francis Fonseca, announced he is willing to collaborate with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to solve the crime issue in Belize.

Fonseca, speaking at a 2:00 pm press conference at Independence Hall Tuesday afternoon, extended his hand and said he is willing to go along with Barrow to go into the communities in order to reassure them that the State is there to provide for their security and to protect them.

Fonseca said, “We need to engage face to face with these communities and they have to understand in fact they are not at war with the state.”

He said that it must be a civilized approach, because while the neighborhoods have criminal elements, there are also law-abiding citizens.

“When we go into these communities to tackle crime and to target the criminals … we are not saying to the entire community that we are coming after you [and] that you are a useless community,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca said that he believes that some of these communities have already begun to get the wrong message about the police and the government’s role.

“It will be a very dangerous road for us to travel if these communities in fact make the determination that the state is not on their side,” Fonseca warned.

Prime Minister Barrow responded to Fonseca’s offer at his press conference, which was held at the Biltmore Hotel about an hour after Fonseca’s press conference.

Barrow said, “Generally we want to move a partnership with the Honorable Leader of the Opposition, with his party and with all the social partners.”

The bodies of the four murder victims, Albert Fuentes, 19; Leonard “Ghost” Meyers, 30; Anthony Perez, 28; and Keino Quallo, 40, were found in their apartment complex located at the corner of Dean and Plue Street on Tuesday, January 8, 2012.

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