Guest Editorial: Happy New Year?

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Lisa Shoman
My first post of 2019 was to have been one of hope for you, your family and our Jewel, that we live happy, safe, prosperous lives. I am trying to cling to that hope and still wish that it be so. Happy New Year.
But 2019 was barely 24 hours old when in a blaze of violence 5 Belizeans are murdered, and one more is brutally injured, and in a critical condition.
And ironically, the murders are almost a perfect, representative snapshot of the violence that has soaked our nation in blood in the last two decades.
The first murder of 2019 was apparently a resident of Lucky Strike Village found in his home with multiple stab and chop wounds all over his body. Another resident is being questioned.
The second murder was reported to be a man whose body pulled from the river near Blackman Eddy, and whose hands were tied behind his back with what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the left side of the head.
The third murder of 2019 claimed the life of a reputed “gang boss.” Joseph Babb, a 20-year-old was allegedly shot multiple times on Blue Marlin Drive in Belize City.
Predictably, the fourth murder was on Jane Usher Boulevard in Belize City.
The fifth murder was that of a Belizean woman, fatally stabbed by the hands of her domestic partner. Anita Pineda, 37, was killed by her common-law husband Rueben Cassasola at the home of a relative on Constellation Boulevard in San Ignacio Town.
Finally, in beautiful San Pedro, in front of multiple witnesses, a man, on the ground, was brutally kicked in the face by a police officer’s combat boot, and his head snaps backs. The amateur video tells the tale. The man is reportedly in critical condition.
I have to have some hope. You have to have some hope that anything can change. Otherwise, there is no exit from this abyss. And all our dreams, wishes, beautiful sentiments for 2019 for friends, family, neighbors, and nation are for naught.
And hope is not enough. We need to take the personal responsibility to demand that our political leaders deal with law enforcement and the administration of justice with immediacy. We know what the solutions are. We have chewed those over for a decade or two.
More guns for police and harsher policing measures and penalties are not the answer. Paramilitary tactics employed against civilians won’t fix this. It makes it worse.
No state of emergency need be declared. We are already living in a nationwide state of emergency right now.
We need serious, sustained, implementation of long-term, difficult fiscal and security measures, and we need them now. Political posturing by the government, opposition, and third parties on this are, worse than useless.
Nothing than a complete change in our national ethos and culture will save us now.

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