By Benjamin Fllowers
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and top brass within the police department held a press conference Thursday to address the recent upsurge in violent crime in Belize City which has resulted in four murders in less than twelve hours.
The police confirmed that between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. there were four shooting incidents resulting in five injuries and three deaths..
Barrow explained that after his meeting with high command of the Police that he is satisfied that they are taking the correct measures to contain the situation before it escalates further.
He added that Central Government is prepared to provide whatever resources the security forces need in order to nip this new outburst in the bud.
“We are trying to secure a $30 million loan from CABEI (Central American Bank of Integration) to properly equip the Security Forces,” Barrow said.
“With respect to security in schools, government is prepared to help pay for private security to make up for any short falls of the police department.”
Commissioner of Police Allen Whiley explained that while he could not name all the measures his department will be taking, because that would give the criminal elements the opportunity to prepare, he did say that the department is going all out to contain the situation.
Among the counter measures being taken, Whiley shared that the department is identifying officers to be transferred to the Gang Suppression Unit to give the unit more manpower to increase its operations.
Whiley added that while police have not confirmed with certaintythat all four of the shootings are connected to the initial shooting on Euphrates Avenue, it is highly suspected that they are.
The police have stated that it is possible that the shootings are in retaliation to the fatal shooting of Cyril McFoy Robinson, 56 of Dean Street, who is the father of known George Street Gang affiliate, Brandon Tillett.
McFoy was killed at approximately 1:55 p.m. in his yard at the corner of Dean Street and Euphrates Avenue, a few yards away from St. Ignatius Primary School.
Witnesses say that McFoy was not the intended target, but that the shooter turned his gun on him when the initial target, still undetermined, escaped with the group that was playing dominoes in Robinson’s yard.
Officer Commanding Eastern Division, Desiree Philips, explained that police have detained six persons, all known gang members who they believe either have knowledge or were at some level involved in the string of shootings.