BELIZE-CRIME-Senior police officer backs gun amnesty

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A senior police officer is supporting moves by the business community to implement a gun amnesty in Belize with the country recording nearly 50 murders so far this year.
The Regional Commander of the Eastern Division South, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett, said he held talks with members of the business community on the crime situation in the area.
He said his discussions with the Chamber of Commerce concerned a “gun amnesty,” which if instituted, would result in the purchase of privately owned firearms.
He said the idea would be “forwarded to our superiors in Belmopan to see if that is something that we can do.
“But the business community, I believe, will be sponsoring this and they are showing their support for it. So, if that is the way to go, I hold the opinion that it is something we should do. But, again, I am not the one who will make that final decision if we go that way,” he told reporters.
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, said that the authorities are examining new initiatives since announcing earlier this year plans to implement emergency plans to deal with the crime situation.
“Since we announced the emergency plans, we continued with the mediation and intervention with the different people, and it seems like the intervention and the mediation work to a great extent. So what we have done is this: we said, listen, since the emergency declaration is a very draconian step…”
“If it continues to help us and we don’t see any gang violence or nothing like that caused by any gang, then clearly, we may not need to go to the emergency situation. However, the minute it flares up again, we have those documentation ready, and good to go at the drop of a hat,” he added.
The Attorney General said that there is no time line regarding the emergency plans and warned criminal gangs to change their attitude.
“But if they step out of line tomorrow, we have full preparation to go into it tomorrow. So what we do from here is up to how they behave: if they behave right, then we don’t have to take any stringent measures,” he said.

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