The former President of Columbia and former Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, said it best on his visit to the island of Ambergris Caye during his participation in the Oceana board members' meeting earlier this month – “Tourism is the only main industry that your island depends on; you need to take care of it.”
And with this statement in mind and some pressing issues affecting our community, a group of concerned citizens met on Friday, December 17, 2010, to take the first step into starting a new battle against crime on the island.
The group’s main concern is that of drugs trafficking related violence that seems to be on the rise on the island. It was only until the end of this year that San Pedro saw three murders occur within a month’s period. With no other murders or serious crimes taking place throughout the rest of the year, this group of concerned citizens does not want this scenario to start getting out of hand and seriously affecting tourism on our island.
The group’s first plan of action is to send a letter to the Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Tourism outlining its major concerns and requesting the Government’s assistance to bring back control to the law in San Pedro.
The letter begins by stating: “In recent weeks and months Ambergris Caye and in particular San Pedro Town has seen a rapid increase in crimes of violence, murder and theft. It is well known that most crimes on our island are as a direct or indirect consequence of illegal drugs and drug dealing.” The letter then goes on to outline what the group believes are issues affecting our community.
One of the most urgent requests is for government to deploy the force necessary to eradicate the bad element on our island. The group believes that the island needs more members of the Belize Defense Force on the Island and new laws in order for the police, Drangon Force and BDF to be given the tools necessary to rid our island of drug dealers, gangs and “the bad people who will ultimately destroy all our livelihoods if they are allowed to.”
The group believes that only Central Government has the resources, personnel and weaponry needed to confront and combat this grave issue. In addition to this request to Government, the group will meet once again to start organizing proper community initiatives that will aid in combating crime on our island.
Ambergris Today will keep the public posted on further developments and if you wish to get involved you can start by obtaining a copy of the letter and signing it as a show of support. To obtain a copy of the letter send a request to [email protected].