Tourism is everybody’s business. Education is everybody’s business. And so are many other issues everybody’s business. Equally important, crime is everybody’s business. Our teenagers and party people are not safe in their regular night outings because guns are being pulled out at public places while they are innocently trying for some safe island fun. Anybody out late at night is not safe because thought they are not looking for trouble, trouble comes looking for them. Even we at home run the risk as bullets are being fired in our sleeping neighborhoods and finding their mark on our home walls.
The recently held March and Rally ‘Footprints For Peace’ held after the senseless murder of a young man, son, husband and father, Jefffery Eiley, proves that crime is everybody’s business. Close to 1,000 island participants including children, high school teens, locals and retired expats all shouted for the same cause - “Let’s get back our peace on the Island.” This is one way in which they all can be part of the solution - by making noise. Speaker after speaker echoed the idea that as long as guns keep on making noise, they too will continue shouting for justice and for peace.
Footprints for Peace is shouting at the police to take quick action in raking this community. We all know that the Police know where the crime hotspots are located. Gunshots are a common occurrence and it is creating havoc in neighborhoods. One speaker at the rally mentioned that the home of our Area Representative Hon. Manuel Heredia is just three homes away from Jefferey’s and that shots are only too regular in that vicinity. Hopefully he has also heard them and is alarmed.
At the Footprints for Peace Rally, Hon. Heredia stated that he will do everything in his power to bring an immediate solution. The good Minister said that he already has the approval of the Minister of National Security, Hon. John Zaldivar, to bring to San Pedro elements of the BDF (Belize Defense Force and the GSU (Gang Suppression Unit) to deal with the predators, who have us prisoners in our own homes and community.
Hopefully this is not just a sporadic reaction of an action. Ambergris Caye is the prime tourist destination in Belize, identified as having the highest percentage of visitors (38%). It is only in the best interest of the government of Belize to protect the island, its residents, visitors and tourism industry.
Indeed the escalating course of crime on our Isla Bonita is everybody’s business. We the citizenry must keep making noise and adding pressure. The police is expected to step up to the plate and strike them out. The Area Rep is expected to grab the bull by the horn and exterminate this destructive predator once and for all and for good.
Once the Island is cleared, our good mayor has promised instituting a manifest listing system to control the infestation of our community by unwanted predators coming by way of water taxi. Thereafter landlords will be expected to solicit Social Security ID’s and ask for letters of recommendation or proof of employment. Since we agree that it is everybody’s business, we urge everybody to keep on fighting until there is peace in our homes, neighborhoods and community. It is not too late; once our window of opportunity is beyond our reach, we will start suffering the dire consequences.