Thursday, April 15, 2010



The Chamber of Commerce Television Program called BUSINESS PERSPECTIVES was a good one this week, designated to the study of an apparent rise in violent crime in the port, mostly of Belize City.

The panel had a Phd, studying crime in Belize as an anthropologist and socialist, Commissioner of Police Jeffries was there representing Belize national political police, and a lady lawyer, aggressive and articulate. Moderated by the Chamber chairperson. ( don’t know her name )

The give and take was very interesting. Some startling points were made in the cross debate. The things that stuck in my mind mostly, was that THE MEDIA HOUSES OF BELIZE CITY were fueling the culture of VIOLENT CRIME, robberies and murders. The next item, it was argued by the Phd, that locking up known criminals awaiting for trials, for which the police knew they had no evidence was counterproductive. That the Chamber of Commerce itself had a sizable portion of their membership who were criminals themselves, or organized as small criminal gangs.

Probably the biggest item, which I had come to believe myself, was the MEDIA effect in socializing, culture developing and accepting an attitude among the populace that crime was alright and legitimate. Commissioner Jeffries pointed out that CRIME IS A BUSINESS. A certain percentage of young men, choose crime as a career and way of life. That impressionable young men are vying for their 15 minutes of FAME, on the news programs, be they talk shows, newspaper headlines, or television programs. He explained how they BRAG and compete in PEER PRESSURE for STATUS, about they were on the EVENING NEWS, or something they did beat the EVENING NEWS by another violent criminal, by being on the MORNING NEWS. The Phd pointed out that this cultural and socialism reinforcement shouldn’t happen. While CRIME IS NEWS for the sensationalist news shows, it should be self regulated and reported on the inside of the back page of a newspaper, using one line, a short paragraph in small print. Not in large print, sensationalist full page articles. Nor should the CRIMINALS be getting so much attention on the television and talk radio and tv shows. That in fact, the MEDIA are 45% responsible for the current atmosphere of VIOLENT CRIME CULTURE in the port of Belize City. It was pointed out that in England crime news was not allowed to be this way in reporting.

The court and police practice of locking up known criminals in Hattieville prison, only to eventually a year or two down the road, be set free by the court system, was counter productive. That this was re-inforcing their criminal behavior and that of their crime peers, in status.

Most startling was Commissioner Jeffries assertion that CRIME permeates the BUSINESS COMMUNITY as well, as WHITE COLLAR CRIME. He was referring to GST tax cheats, under invoicing to avoid government customs duties, as contributing to an overall culture in BELIZE, that crime is alright, it is WHITE COLLAR crime. He said therefore, that this widespread attitude of CRIME is acceptable, as a culture and social thing, permitted the violent young criminals to feel acceptable in this society in which they live. He said quite rightly, the CULTURE FORMATION of SOCIETY starts at the top with the CABINET, the PARLIAMENT, then the bureaucracy and down through society.

Most impressive was Commissioner Jeffries. He was articulate, well balanced, able to josh about his own peccadillos, with the business and academic section of society on the show, on even terms. He came across as the right man for the job and made me feel proud as a Belizean to have a MASTER HAND understanding the problems of society, culture and the political police effects on the job that he has to do. He was very good indeed and his understanding of the problems effecting society and his police force were deep, complex and well grasped. From the news media I had formed an entirely opposing viewpoint originally, and now I feel the MEDIA HOUSES are the problem, not Commissioner Jeffries.

One of the ideas I had developed was that there could be an ADVERTISING war time DIRIGIBLE floated some 500 feet above the center of Belize City, from a truck cable. Secretly a gyroscope observation TV camera could be filming on security tape, the actions on the streets below. In the case of violent crime, you could thus run the tape backward and follow the vehicle, bicycles or miscreants, home to their lair. Advertising would pay for it.

It was a good show and I thought it funny, if sad; that a large portion of the host CHAMBER OF COMMERCE membership got a slap in the face, when told that a large part of their membership were organized criminals.

No comments: